By: Alerey Crocker, Contributing Writer
Christina Gronefeld was nominated for the October FFA SAE Spotlight. She is a sophomore at Centralia High School.
Gronefeld’s SAE is equine-centered. This year is Gronefeld’s fourth year showing horses, but she has been riding horses for about eleven years. Her show horse’s registered name is Candy Coated Zippo. She uses the horse’s registered name when she enters him into shows. Gronefeld calls her show horse by the “barn name” of Forrest outside of shows.
Summer is the main show season. Every day in the summer Gronefeld wakes up at 6:00 a.m. to ride, so she can beat the heat. This illustrates one of the ways that showing horses takes a lot of work and dedication. But the hard work is worth it. “Whenever my horse and I accomplish something big as a team, there is no better feeling than knowing that you worked hard for this, and it has all paid off. No one else has done this work for you,” Gronefeld said.
Gronefeld has made a lot of sacrifices to get ready for competitions. She has sacrificed going to school dances, hanging out with friends, staying up late and even playing school volleyball, so she can have time to practice as much as possible. “You yourself have put in every hour, every dollar, every bead of sweat and drop of tears to be able to do amazing things with this 1,200-pound animal, and it has all been worth it. I can’t really put the feeling into words. It’s incredible,” Gronefeld said.
One of Gronefeld’s goals is to win a world championship title one day. She knows it will take a lot of work, but she is willing to do what it takes to get there. Another one of her goals is to have a career involving horses as well as other aspects of agriculture, whether it be training horses, being a riding instructor, running a breeding farm or becoming an equine vet. As for Gronefeld’s other goals, she will just to see what the future has in store.
Gronefeld has a lot of major accomplishments. Last year she showed at the Missouri State Fair 4-H/FFA Horse Show for the first time, and she and her horse placed 4th in Showmanship at Halter and 8th in Western Pleasure. This year she showed her horse at the same show, except they were in the 15-21 age division. The competition was really tough for Gronefeld because she and her show horse competed against people who were older than her; however, she still managed to place 4th in Hunt Seat Equitation, 6th in Hunter Under Saddle and 8th in Trail.
These feel like big accomplishments to Gronefeld because she and her horse worked hard in order to achieve them. In November Gronefeld will be showing at a national show–the Color Breed Congress. She thinks of this as an accomplishment because she and her horse have worked hard to be ready to show at this level. Even if Gronefeld and her horse do not perform as well as she would like to, she still considers just being able to go a huge personal accomplishment.