Senior Brianna Rogozinski competes at a high level in a sport most of her classmates know little about -- show jumping.
Last month, Brianna took first place in two different classes at the Northern Illinois Hunter Jumper Association Finals, earning her the title of overall champion at the show.
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Brianna competes on the show team for Deerwood Farms Barn in Barrington Hills, where she spends nearly every day of the week grooming, riding and training her family's three horses.
At the two-day competition, Brianna and her white horse, Whitey, were judged on boldness and speed while clearing a series of 10 fences along the equestrian course, and all at a high rate of speed.
In riding circles, it is the most competitive show of the year and it was Brianna's first title, let alone championship.
"Once I got over the first 10 (fences) with no faults, I thought I could do it," Brianna says. "During the next round, the 5-fence jumpoff, we just had fun."
Whitey is a relatively new horse for Brianna, but this much she knows: He likes to jump.
"He's really big, so you can tell he wants to jump," Brianna says, "Sometimes I have to hold him back a little bit."
In order to compete in show jumping, the horse and rider develop a relationship, she says, that comes over time, through all the training and care at the barn.
"They just know what you're feeling," Brianna says, "so you have to be confident and then he knows we can do this."
Brianna has been riding since she was 8 and jumping since she was 11, and yet she still gets nervous before taking the course.
"It's a little unsettling," she says, "but riding Whitey makes it fun. Even though he's so big, he makes some of the fences seem small. It's exciting."