Since age 5, Hailey Davis has spent most of her life around horses. Now 18, her love and commitment to all things equestrian has earned her several recent successes, including competing at a national horse event and earning a scholarship.
For years, Davis has volunteered at Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Therapeutic Riding Center, which serves a variety of special needs, from Down syndrome to cerebral palsy. “A lot of the children cannot walk, so when you put them on horses it simulates the experience of walking and gives them an amazing sense of freedom being away from a wheelchair,” she says.
Because of her time at the therapeutic riding center, and other qualifications like grade point average, Davis recently received the P.E.O. STAR Scholarship, a $2,500 scholarship for graduating high school senior women in honor of their philanthropic work.
In addition to her volunteer work, Davis competes in dressage, a competitive equestrian sport that tests the bond between rider and horse. When done right, the rider effortlessly requests a movement by the horse and the horse willingly performs. It is sometimes called “Horse Ballet.”
Davis competed in the 2015 U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Seat Medal Finals in Wayne, Illinois. This is a highly prestigious competition and Davis was the representative of Colorado. She placed 12th in the nation with her horse, Knightwynds Electra. At another competition, she placed fourth in the state with her other horse, Sienna Sky.
“It’s important to go out and groom your horse and spend time with your horse doing different things besides taking a lesson and then leaving. You have to trust each other, which is difficult because you’re thrown in these situations and you get nervous but you have to trust each other,” she says.
Davis is currently a freshman at Colorado State University on the pre-vet track and plans to be an equine vet. Because of her years riding, she believes she brings a unique perspective to treating and caring for horses.