Playmaker Profile: Alex Marsh

Sylvia Gidal, Reporter

There are sports that people constantly hear about like football, volleyball, basketball or soccer, but then there are the sports that really aren’t as well known. Sports like these, not famous, but still give so much to those who participate in them. City High student, Alex Marsh ‘20 is a competitive horseback rider. She has been riding from a very young age.

“I started riding when I was really really young…anywhere around 2 to 5 years old. It was because my grandma used to ride and she used to have horses so whenever we went to visit her in Illinois she would lead us around on the horses,” Marsh said.

Marsh trains at her barn (Bent Creek) year round and is typically there 4-5 days a week with her leased horse, Bentley. She participates in eventing which is a mix of several different kinds of riding.

“Eventing includes jumping, dressage (no jumping) and cross country riding.”

There are many different levels in eventing. They take longer to complete because they each contain those three different aspects of riding.

“I’m halfway done with my C2, which is the fifth level. The levels go D1, D2, D3 then C1, C2, C3 then HB, B, HA, A. To get all the way to the As is really hard.”

Marsh competes in shows across Iowa and the Midwest. In July she competed at the championship level out of state.

“I went to championships in Kentucky and I won. Which was a really big deal because my goal for the year was just to make it. This year I went Novice and I didn’t know if I could do it cause it was my first time showing novice, first time showing with that horse, first time I was going to go at a higher level. It was a gutsy move, I didn’t know if I could do it and I ended up doing really well. I was really surprised because a year ago I would have never been able to do that and we’ve just come so far in a short amount of time.”  

Training is also essential to achieve these successes. Marsh spends hours training for shows.

“Based on the kind of person I am, I like to train hard. I have very high expectations of him [Bentley] and of us. If something doesn’t go well I get very frustrated. If I am already frustrated and I go ride it doesn’t go well cause I’m already in a bad mood.”

The horse himself is a very important part of riding to Marsh. Her horse, Bentley, is on a four year lease. She believes that they have a special connection.

“When I first got him he was very unfit he was scared of everything, he still is scared of random stuff, but he would never let me touch his face and it would take me five minutes to go get him from the pasture cause he would just run away from me. Now I can go up and pet him, he’s just warmed up to me now and he knows who I am. Whenever I pull up in my car he knows my car and he perks up. I would say we do have a bond.”

Marsh plans to continue riding for the rest of her time in high school and hopes to go prelim eventing. She is unsure about riding after she graduates but wants to keep horses in her life for as long as possible.

“I don’t know about riding in college or after college but being around horses is so special that I want to be around them even if I’m not riding like I am now.”

Marsh feels like riding plays a very important part in who she is.

“I always love that feeling when you’re riding and something just clicks and it just all comes together and it’s just such a good feeling. It’s a definite confidence boost when you do really well in a lesson or a show or even just a good ride. If I have a good ride, it makes my whole day better.”