Kate Coffey rides to College of Charleston


Jennifer Coffey

Kate Coffey on her horse, Edelman.

John Vassiliou, Staff Writer

Senior Kate Coffey is setting off for the College of Charleston, where she will become a member of the school’s equestrian team. She has been horseback riding for over fourteen years, since she was four years old, and is looking forward to continuing her favorite sport.

“[It’s] really cool to be able to continue doing something I love. It’s something familiar to have at school and it will be a cool opportunity to compete with people all over the country,” Coffey said.

Two years ago, when Coffey was sixteen, she was awarded the National Sportsmanship Award from the Interscholastic Equestrian Association. For Coffey, no other sport can even compare to horseback riding.

“It’s its own world,” she said.

Though a lot of people tend to associate most horse-related sports to racing, there are other disciplines in the sport.

“What I do is called hunter-jumper riding, specifically equitation. So what I’m judged on is my position and it’s basically style, efficiency, and effectiveness […] It’s subjective, basically every judge will have their own preferences. However, they are all trained and should be relatively similar [to one another],” Coffey said.

She has attended various equestrian events and competitions, mainly in Florida and New York, and cites her mother as being her main supporter.

“My mom has been supportive from day one. We slowly took steps in building up level by level, and it’s a huge financial commitment as well. Starting out, I just took lessons once a week and then it turned into a half-lease, and then I had my own pony.  Now I’m at a point where I lease a horse for the whole year, and I’m able to go to a lot of shows and I’m very lucky for that,” Coffey said.

Coffey adds her friends to her list of supporters. She has had to miss school events and outings with friends for her sport, and having people around her who are understanding is a welcome company she is happy to have.

“I’ve found that my friends are very understanding and supportive when I can’t go out because I have a show the next day or disappear for a couple weeks. They have always been there for me, but it definitely makes it difficult,” Coffey said.

Coffey has shown herself to be a very dedicated and hardworking young woman, and she has gone through the process of participating in dual enrollment so that she can attend shows. Her drive and determination will go with her to college, where they will be a great advantage for both herself and all of the people around her.

“This year, going to Florida, I was living on my own for three months. I graduated from high school early, I had to work and was at the highest level of competition that I’ve ever been. Going into that, yeah it’s super scary. But at the end of the day, I’ve come out a much better rider and a much more mature person,” Coffey said.

Her mother, WA health and physical education teacher Lauren Coffey has high hopes for her in the future and is confident that she will excel in college.

“Kate is one of the most determined individuals I’ve ever come across,” Coffey’s mother said.