Jumping to victory
When it comes to jumping horses, Phoebe Henry is the best in the state — and she has the hardware to prove it.
Henry, a Chugiak High sophomore, has won the 14-U United States Hunter/Jumper Association Stirrup Cup award for Zone 12 two years in a row.
The Stirrup Cup is presented to the person with the most overall points throughout six competitions in Alaska. Henry received the award in December 2012.
Entering her final competition of the summer last August, Henry had no idea where she ranked compared to other riders.
“I just tried to do the best I could each show,” she said.
Though she’s won two straight years, the 2012 award didn’t come as easily as Henry’s first.
Henry’s first points title was won with her Appendix Quarter Horse, Fame, a horse she had ridden for a decade.
Due to Fame’s age, Henry competed with a different partner last season, Alahmar — an Arabian and Quarter Horse mix.
Riding a new horse brought a new challenge, Henry said. But it also made defending her title that much sweeter.
“This one was a little more exciting because this horse was harder for me to ride,” she said.
Henry rides at Sindorf Equestrian Center in Palmer and has been since she was 8-years-old.
Henry, now 15, was born into the sport. She received her first pony at just 3-years-old.
Henry’s mother, Lindsay — principal at Fire Lake Elementary — had a similar upbringing.
“She’s always had horses,” Henry said.
Henry hasn’t always limited herself to competing in hunter/jumper shows. She’s also participated in dressage — where the horse and rider execute specific movements.
“Both of them are very challenging,” she said.
But ultimately, maneuvering through a course and over fences appeals more to Henry, she said.
The competition season in Alaska doesn’t last long. It runs from May to August.
“It’s really short compared to the Lower 48,” Henry said.
Most competitions are held at the state fair grounds in Palmer, Henry said. And each event is held outside, not matter what Mother Nature has to say about it.
“They don’t cancel for weather,” Henry said. “You’re going in rain or shine.”
With a limited number of competitors, Henry sees familiar faces at each event.
“It’s a tight-knit community,” she said.
Winning the Stirrup Cup is no easy task. Henry said she practices at Sindorf five days a week year-round.
Her hard work has paid off.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected].