LAKE STEVENS — Alexis Eacret, 16, is going into her junior year at Lake Stevens High School. She recently took first place in pattern horse racing at the National Saddle Clubs Association’s O-Mok-See competition in Idaho.
Question: How long have you been working with Brody, your horse?
Answer: About three years now … He’s a mix, but he’s mostly a thoroughbred quarter horse. He’s 12, which is still pretty young.
Q: Can you tell me about the type of competitive riding you do?
A: So basically we have different events we can do. We have different poles and barrels set up. And the object is just to go as fast as you can through the patterns, and the fastest time wins. They have different age divisions, so it’s a little bit more fair.
Q: What did it feel like being named national champ?
A: I was really surprised because I went two years ago in the 12 to 15 age group and I took first place in that age group, but going into the women’s (which starts at 16) I didn’t have high expectations because it’s a much larger group and it’s much more competitive. When I won, it was pretty amazing.
Q: What got you into riding?
A: When I was younger, probably around 8 or 9, my friend gave me a free lesson with a person who gave lessons with horses. It just kind of took off from there … I’ve been competing about six years.
Q: What’s it like to race?
A: It’s a lot of adrenaline, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s really competitive, especially when you get to go against your friends.
Q: How often do you practice?
A: I normally come to the barn about five days a week … Riding basically takes up all my time. Riding is the only sport I do. We compete summer and winter. But I like to hang out with my friends, too.
Q: What’s your favorite part of riding?
A: I actually like the bond with the animals and being able to hang out with them. They’re just like big dogs.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge?
A: Sometimes the horse is having a bad day, just like humans. Sometimes we don’t agree on things.
Q: What do you hope to do after high school?
A: I’m not sure yet. I think I want to be somewhere doing something in the medical community, but I’m not sure exactly where I want to be yet. There are just so many options.
Q: Are you hoping to stay involved in competitive riding?
A: Yes … I want to stay in doing what I do right now. You only have that competition once a year, so I’m going to stay with the local competitions until next year if we decide to go again. We normally have something every other weekend. Sometimes we have six weeks in a row, and sometimes we have a couple of weeks off. There are different series you can do.
Q: What classes are you taking in school?
A: I’m going to be in math analysis, AP literature and I’m also doing cooking and a photography class.
Q: What do you like doing with your friends?
A: We like going shopping a lot. A lot of times, we just hang out and watch movies or talk.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from riding?
A: Patience. It’s two different personalities, you and the horse, and they can’t speak like humans can. So it’s just a lot of body language and figuring out together what you can agree on.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.