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Quite Close to Perfection

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Quite Close to Perfection

Claudia jumps Quite Close

Claudia jumps Quite Close

Claudia jumps Quite Close

Claudia jumps Quite Close

Ms. Erickson, Advisor

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Claudia Villamil, a 10th grader, has disappeared from class for a few days a couple of times already this year. Students do that every once in awhile, right? Sometimes they are visiting colleges, or family in Florida, or on a family trip.

But Claudia has a different reason to miss school: Horse Jumping.

Claudia has been riding since she was 8 years old. She decided on Horse Jumping 6 years ago. She’s won a number of times, most recently by riding her horse “Quite Close” at the Bluegrass Festival, the Kentucky Summer Classic show, the Hampton Classic, and The American Gold Cup. In both July and August, she was named Show Jumping Hall of Fame Rider of the Month.

Claudia has been training with her trainer, Francisco Zamudio for about 4 years. He rides her horses when she’s not able to. He makes sure that her horses are ready for her when she comes back. Her horses live in Wellington, FL.

Not only does she have the support of her trainer, but she also has the support of her family. Claudia says that she was the one that eventually decided that she wanted to compete. Her family even asked her in the beginning, “Are you sure you want to do this?” but now they are 100% behind her because they see this is a passion of hers. Plus, she’s really good. She claims that, “There are some parts that can’t come naturally,” as a jumper, but it is obvious that she has a talent considering all of the championships she has won.

Claudia decided to do jumping because of the adrenaline. She says, “There’s a difference between hitting a jump perfectly and having a perfect round. When you miss, you have to learn to forget about it and continue, or else you’ll keep thinking about it and you’ll miss more.” She claims horses are hyper sensitive to their rider and to their environment, and this sometimes impacts a competition. “If you get nervous, the horse could get really tense and nervous too. You might be extra happy one day, and they’re going to feel it; or you might feel extra sad one day, and they feel that. It doesn’t all just depend on you, either; sometimes you might be in a good mood, but they aren’t in that same good mood. So it depends on the both of us.”

She foresees herself jumping long after graduation.

She says what makes her stand out from the other competitors is that she always tries to be as professional as possible.”There is a lot of “horse drama” like who bought which horse, but she just tries to “focus on what I’m doing instead of the drama that’s going on around me.”

She is competing two horses right now, Quite Close and Infinity whose “breeding are specific for jumping.”

The horse that she keeps winning (and jumps the highest with), Quite Close, was actually meant for her trainer, but he decided she would be perfect for Claudia instead. Quite Close feels more comfortable with Claudia and  has been very consistent for her recently, even though it took awhile to build that bond.

Claudia says the sport makes her more humble. She says, “There are so many ups and downs you can’t get too full of yourself. It teaches you to be more down to earth.”

About the Writer
Ms. Erickson, Advisor

I once advised the Saint John's school newspaper and resisted the requests of the student journalists to publish online. Now, here I am, 8 years later,...

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