It is good to know that Teal Parks, one of the top equestrian hunters that emerged in the provincial championships last month in Orangeville Ontario is from Paris. The eighteen-year old lass effortlessly finished the championships with two third places, a fourth and two ninths. These posts for the past season earn her the title of being one of the equestrian hunters to look for in the next few years.
“I was really excited, and a little nervous because the championships were a big deal for me,” said Parks, who was one of seven representatives from central west Ontario. “It can really be overwhelming because it is such a big place and there is so much competition, but my coach just told me to have fun and that is what I did,” added Parks.
Competitors during the provincial championships were close to 50 and in the large hunter division, Parks completed three courses. These three courses include an impressive flat class groundwork course and two jumps. She rode her horse, Thunder, with grace and was judged on how successfully she maneuvered Thunder around the course and over the jumps.
Parks started her equestrian career three years ago and is currently coached by Jen Sweet. Horseback riding was introduced to her eight years ago by a childhood friend. Her constant practice and dedication brought her to where she is now. Until last season, she’s usually seen at Innerkip at Millside Stables honing her riding skills. She has spent countless hours at Lions Bridge Stables to check how Thunder rode. Thunder is owned by Aspen VanWalraven.
The top equestrian hunter is now looking forward to 2010 and what it holds for her career. Parks is planning to spend the winter riding in an indoor arena with her new competition horse, Raffi. “This one is a lot younger so he still needs work. I will be out there every day working with him and training him,” said Parks.
Who’s next in line as one of Paris’ rising star?