Growing up with mother Tracy Vollman — a competitive endurance rider — being around horses was normal, but a couple of tumbles as a young child left Lexi frightened to climb in the saddle. Her mother’s gentle and persistent coaching, however, always convinced her to get back on a horse.
While she did come to enjoy horses, Lexi was not interested in the sport of endurance riding her mother loved. Endurance riding is a timed race where an individual horse and rider duo have to travel a distance ranging from 80 to 160 kilometres over a marked cross-country trail in a single day. Instead, she only began riding longer distances as a 12-year-old as a way of spending time with her mother.
“I was going to do it with her because I loved my mom and then one day it was like something switched and it was like, ‘Oh you know, I really like doing this,’ ” said Lexi in a recent phone interview.
But Tracy said Lexi’s shyness initially held her back from excelling in the sport. Lexi declared she would never ride a race by herself and would never ride anyone else’s horse, and Tracy didn’t push her. A few years passed of Lexi continuing to ride longer distances — up to 80 kilometres — with her mom, but refusing to go any further.
Then when Lexi was 16, an opportunity came up to take part in a young rider endurance challenge in North Carolina. Because she would have to ride 120 kilometres by herself and ride someone else’s horse, Tracy was sure Lexi would turn the invitation down, but asked her anyway.
“I guess I was in a good mood and I was like, ‘Sure, yeah of course.’ And now that’s I think my favourite distance,” said the now 19-year-old with a laugh.
Her parents were shocked, but thrilled, at her response.
“We thought either she’s going to absolutely hate it … or maybe she’ll blossom. And lucky for us, she really blossomed. She got to know the other girls. She went out, she rode the 75-mile race,” said Tracy. From that point there was no turning back, and Lexi began endurance riding competitively around the world.
“All of a sudden now she’s travelling around the world, riding all these different horses for different people. She’s a completely different kid. It has done so much for her, and now here she is going to worlds.”
Full article at Star Phoenix
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