Q&A with Sophomore Jenna Presley who competes in horseback-riding, gymnastics fusion: vaulting

Selena Liu

How’d you start vaulting?

I wanted to do this thing called “trick riding” which is similar to vaulting but it’s a completely different discipline. There’s nowhere around here that (offered) that so I found vaulting and I decided (it would) be the closest fit. I’ve been riding horses since I was about six years old, and about three years ago i saw (this sport) on my favorite TV show, and I (though) ‘this looks really fun!’ I did dance as a little kid and some gymnastics camps, but I started out loving horses.

What’s your favorite thing about it?

I like the community a lot because we all are really close since there’s not many places around here that do that. I also love the sport because it combines some of my favorite things, which is horses and acrobatics.

How involved are the barn cats in your practice?

Sophomore Jenn Presley and partner Andrea Friesen hold up one of the barn cats, Ivan, as he interrupts their practice. The group sometimes practices stunts on the barrel with the cats that come and go from the barn. Anjali Natarajan/Photo

Usually when we come, we can see little paw prints on the barrel because they love walking all over it. Sometimes when we’re practicing moves, they get distracted by us and jump on the barrel while we’re on there. I think Ivan has been on Tiffany a few times, it’s so cute!

What type of practice do you do outside of team practices?

I bought a vaulting barrel, so I have one at home that I can just practice on whenever I want to. It’s really handy for building up confidence on moves that I’m not so confident about.

Which competition has been most memorable for you?

Probably nationals, because it’s just three days of vaulting which is the best. We could also see a bunch of people we don’t usually see: people from all over the US come to this event, so it was just insane seeing how skilled (the competitors) can be.