Catching Up With SA’s Horse Girls (and Ben)

Catching Up With SAs Horse Girls (and Ben)

Claudia Miller, Editor

The Sonoma Academy student body never falls short of having dedicated athletes who pursue sports outside of school, and one example is the number of talented equestrians. Three current Sonoma Academy students and an alum from the class of 2021 chatted with us about their riding.

Senior Maike Mieritz and recent alum Ben Heckman both compete in a sport called 3-Day Eventing, which involves ​​three phases: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. Sophomore Elsa Warneilus-Miller and sophomore Remi Shafer compete in show jumping. Shafer described show jumping as, “competing against time trying to get the fastest time around the course without knocking the jumps down.” Mieritz started riding when she was 10, Heckman started when he was 11, Shafer started when she was three, and Warneilus-Miller started riding when she was five.

There are many misconceptions about horse girls. Shafer stated, “The misconceptions are that we are obsessed with horses, which is false.” Mieritz said, “Healthy as a horse is completely wrong … They always have things wrong with them and cost a lot of money.”

Heckman and Mieritz both said that they chose to ride horses because of their bond with the animal. When Meiritz was asked if horseback riding scared her she said, “Yes, but in a good way. I like the adrenaline rush.” All of their horses have endured many injuries and Shafer has broken her arm from falling off her horse. Her scariest moment was when a horse rolled on top of her when she fell off it.

Heckman has finished top 5 four times out of 12 competitions. He rides five or six times a week and spends about two hours a day with his horse. Shafer has won many first places and rides three to four times a week. Mieritz has also one many first place ribbons and trains six days a week in addition to competing every two to three months.
Their equestrian idols are Olympic eventing gold medalist, Australian equestrian, Phillip Dutton, Canadian Olympic team member, Hawley Bennett-Awad, and SA alum Ransome Rombauer, who have inspired them to continue riding in the future.

Remi Shafer and Cindi
Elsa Warnelius-Miller and Risque









Ben Heckman and Roger
Maike Mieritz and Nico