In The Zone

​By Maranda Schill
Schill Equestrian Club
I have been a member of the McDowell High FFA Chapter since my freshman year, I am honored to proceed as Chapter President as I approach my senior year of high school. The McDowell High FFA Chapter and Agriculture Program was dormant for several years and returned in 2014. 
FFA has already taught me so much about leadership and togetherness. It has inspired me to look at situations from all aspects. The organization is about skill development, experience, and applying prior knowledge to better agriculture for our nation. 
As equestrians, I think we often forget how showing horses links to agriculture. It is those in history who originally domesticated the horse and used the animal for labor. After industrialism, we replaced the labor of the horse with machinery. It is truly astonishing how we continued to domesticate the animal for additional uses, such as transportation, military tactics, recreational use, and more commonly known to us, a sport. 
When you look at any horse, always remember the agricultural connection. Nevertheless, promote your local FFA Chapters for competing in CDE Events, such as Horse Evaluation, which keeps the equine industry alive. Without judges and trainers, who will critique us? 

By Maranda Schill
Schill Equestrian Club


Soaring through the air, way up high,

Not in a plane, nor a helicopter do I fly.


Passionate and determined when we are in our prime,  

On the back of a horse is where I spend my airtime.


Perfectly executed with a moment of suspense,

Every jumper’s goal while atop of every fence;


Clearing profoundly with an absence of contact,

Courageous and boastful when each spot is exact.


Accomplishment and adrenaline rushes instantaneously,

Disbelief and certainty flow simultaneously.


For one thing is certain in the lives of every show jumper,

The feeling of airtime is like that of no other.

**This is a poem I wrote for my community's Creative Writing Contest (to be written on an agriculture related topic). Thank you!**

By Maranda Schill
Schill Equestrian Club

Being a current high school student enables me the opportunity to interact daily with others that are unfamiliar with the equestrian sport. I must say the sports’ existance fascinates a lot of teenagers. Actually I have found that it is the existence of the little things that belong to the sport that really amaze them most. I get a lot of puzzled stares and intriguing looks after answering their questions. Most would be fascinated to talk with somebody about the experience itself of jumping a half-ton, unpredictable, horsepower-filled, beast over a fence and what it is like to competed in one of the most deadliest sports ever created! But that’s not exactly what I mean… allow me to elaborate.


march 1


On a moderate temperature day, I wore one of my long-sleeve Ariat show shirts to school. With intentions of keeping the rider warm, Ariat designed thumb holes at the bottom of the sleeves to keep the rider’s wrists from becoming exposed. Not only were my peers fascinated that the shirt had thumb holes, but they were even more fascinated that the shirt was SPECIFICALLY designed to keep the sleeves tucked into gloves so no skin is exposed.


During the winter season, girls wore knee high boots to keep their feet warm and their outfits stylish! Many of them were designed with a reddish-brown colored stripe at the top and some are even accessorised with a silver bit on the side. All the fashionistas were surprised when I pointed out that the boot they were wearing was designed just like the boots of a jockey, and that “buckle” was actually an english bit for a horse! The “bit” part called for much more detailed explaining.


march 1

Just like any other exhibitor, I have back numbers… A LOT OF THEM! At the conclusion of my last IEA show I tossed my back numbers for the weekend up in the back window of my car, not realizing they were on display. The random objects you find in an equestrians car definitely is different from those found in the car of the average teenager. The next day at school, everyone was ranting off these random numbers to me. Once I realized the numbers matched my show numbers for the past weekend, I explained. They were amazed at the fact that we actually were issued numbers. is a real SPORT and we have numbers!  Quickly they tasked why they were attached to a string... *Face palm*


When I was a sophomore I got my class ring. One side has my name and an emblem of a horse and rider jumping over a fence, and the other side has my graduation year (2018), along with the symbol of academics. I was one of the first people in my class to get a class ring, so everyone wanted to see what the finished product looked like. When they saw the horse jumping, everyone immediately asked, “HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT?” I explained to them that Jostens actually has “equestrian” as an emblem option. Everyone was so intrigued. Yes, it is an actual SPORT! I didn’t make it up people. Promise.


schill logo

I have my barn logo, a Schill Equestrian Club logo, on the front of my personal school computer. The logo displays my personal brand, and underneath it says “EQUESTRIAN CLUB.” You and I both know the word “equestrian” is 150% english, it’s pronounced as it is read, and requires using pure literacy skills. Still yet, I get confused looks. When my fellow classmates finally make out the name “Schill” within the logo, they’re mesmerized. It is as if they’re revealing a hidden message within the world’s best novel. They continue to study the brand and normally mumble something like…”esquarian…” “egyptian…” “ekwestran…”





And instantly, it is like fireworks on the Fourth of July.