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Senior Spotlight: Sophia Gibbs, Riding in Style

Dressed elegantly as Cinderella and her coach, Sophia Gibbs and her miniature-horse, Charles, light up the street every Halloween. However, dressing up her horse is only a pass-time for Sophia, instead she dedicates hours every single week to training, caring for, and preparing to compete in showing competitions.

Sophia quit gymnastics at 11 years old and convinced her mom to sign her up for horse riding lessons, eventually as she started honing her skills she leased a horse. By 13, she started participating in competitions and continues to do so, racking up hundreds of awards and ribbons over the years. These competitions are grueling, with long hours and typically lasting upwards of five days. Despite its challenges, Sophia loves competing and hopes to continue doing so for as long as she can. One of her goals she shared with me is to go to the Worlds Showing in Tennessee.

Currently, Sophia has two horses, Waylon, who is an American Quarter Horse and a miniature horse named Chuck. She competes with both horses in various competitions around the country. Showing horses is not an easy task, it is extremely costly, and the horses require a lot of care. Sophia started working at a barn her sophomore year, taking care of 25 horses. She worked four days a week and was tasked with maintaining and cleaning their environment. She continues to work several hours a week and has since gained more responsibilities and now cares for 35 horses. Her work allows her to help support and cover some of the expenses that come with showing her horses.

Animals have always been a large part of Sophia’s life; her hospitality is shown for how willing she is to take-in animals and give them the love and care that they need. This is not only with animals, Sophia also goes out of her way to make sure that her friends and loved ones are supported and have a place to stay. Sophia has made sure that senior, Vayda, has a place to stay and has been incredibly generous and hospitable. Sophia is a hard worker and when she undergoes something difficult, instead of giving up, she works even harder, continuing to perform in shows. This is something that everyone can learn and benefit from.

Sophia went to St. Augustine for elementary and middle school and plans to attend Kellogg Community College next fall and will transfer in two years to Lake Michigan College’s Sonography program. Her long-term goal is to work as a Ultrasound Tech in an OB-GYN office, which perfectly fits her nurturing personality.

The dedication and commitment that it takes to be able to not only care for horses, but also to compete in week-long showings is intense. Sophia takes all of this in stride and works incredibly hard to balance her showing, work, school, and everything else that she does. Sophia is one of the most genuine people and her meticulousness will serve her well in her future endeavors. If you ever see a miniature horse dressed up around town, Sophia is most likely nearby.


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