Emily Wagner has horseback riding in her blood.
After being raised to ride by her mother from a very young age, the 25 year old is on track to compete in the 2016 Olympics with her national champion stallion, Wakeup.
Her passion for dressage led her to train other young riders to aspire to do the same, though itâ??s not a particularly popular sport.
â??Dressage is a little boring,â?? said Wagner. â??Itâ??s a little boring for kids. So, most kids say, â??I want to jump! I want to go fast! I want to do this instead of concentrating on these little boring details.â??â??
â??I used to think it was extremely boring, and I was like, â??Oh, thatâ??s not for me. I like the jumping and running,â??â?? recalled 15-year-old dressage rider, Madison Peer. â??When I started doing it, I was like, â??Man, this is super hard,â?? and I wanted a challenge.â??
Madison and her 12-year-old sister, Mackenzie, have worked and trained under Wagner at her Kansas home the last few summers and have already placed well at regional competitions.
The feeling when your horse does something great, and youâ??re just so happy about it, and you just love that,â?? explained Mackenzie. â??And if you knew, then you would know why Iâ??m so talkative about it.â??
So how does the horse know what to do? Wagner said itâ??s all about how the rider is positioned on the saddle.
â??You know, I canâ??t speak horse, but my horse can understand that when I shift my weight from the center of the saddle to a little to the left of the saddle that I want it to follow my weight to the left of the saddle,â?? she explained. â??So, theyâ??re super sensitive in that sense.â??
For the girls, getting to train under Wagner is something they donâ??t take for granted.
â??I think itâ??s super special, and you have to really appreciate her taking her time out to help you,â?? Madison said.
â??Thereâ??s no reason that just because you live somewhere thatâ??s cold and out of the way that you shouldnâ??t have a good education,â?? Wagner added. â??As long as youâ??re willing to learn, Iâ??m willing to teach.â??