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Students ride, compete with own horses

Story by Katie Ericson
Photo courtesy of Lauren Bunce

Bunce1-w2000-h2000As the capital of Iowa, Des Moines is a urban city. With many suburbs and towns nearby it can be hard to get away from the busy city life. Yet some students have found a way to connect to nature anyway. The Drake University Outdoor Leadership Club goes on rock climbing and hiking adventures, along with numerous other places in Iowa that are ideal for camping. Several Drake students have found another way to escape the city -— through horseback riding.

Sophomore Lauren Bunce started riding at the age of 7. She competed in professional competitions and helped her parents with their own show, the Iowa Show Circuit. Now she is studying law and still stays connected to her horses.

“Even though my sister and I don’t ride competitively right now, we are planning to show again in the near future, we still find time to visit our trainers and ride some of their horses,” Bunce said. “We also find other ways to stay involved like going to horse shows, to watch our friends or to help out.”

Unfortunately, Bunce chose to sell her horses, Foxy and Pete, because of her busy schedule. There are stables nearby, but Bunce did not have time in her schedule to be with her horses as much as she would like.

“I would much rather my horse be enjoyed by a little girl just learning how to ride than stand in her stall waiting on me,” Bunce said.

Junior Megan Streit has encountered similar difficulties, but has chosen to keep her horse Dixie. She boards her horse in a barn 45 minutes away in Lucas, Iowa.  Even though Streit still has difficulty getting away from her studies, she thinks it worthwhile.

“Even if I can’t ride I still hop in my truck about once a month and escape down to Lucas just to groom or lunge her and get away from the lights and sound. But fall and spring are wonderful because we can actually train and have adventures,” Streit said.

Riding since the age of 9, Megan also rode competitively on her now 15-year-old thoroughbred. For her, though, the beauty of horse riding lies in the horse itself.

“She actually got ‘fired’ from being a lesson horse because she bucked too many people off … God knows why she decided to put up with me but she did and to this day she’s still pretty much a ‘one person horse,’” Streit said.

Bunce feels the same way.

“The relationship I had with Foxy was extremely special. There were nights in high school when I would sit in her stall with her and work on homework while she ate or took a nap,” Bunce said.

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