When Sammie Fritz hopped on a horse for the first time at the tender age of 7, she admits she was a bit unsure of it all.
“I was kind of scared,” she says with a giggle. “The horse was so big.”
But three years and more than 40 ribbons later, this pint-size equestrian extraordinaire has conquered that fear—and has her sights set on competing in Dressage at the 2016 Olympics. If her current accolades are any indication at how far she’s going (last year she placed third in our region and eighth in the nation), she’s right on track to make her Olympic debut in a mere four years.
Sammie’s preternatural abilities are perfectly complemented by her drive to work hard, so every day after school (and during the summer), she trains one to two hours on her horse Rohanna at the Pegasus Riding School in Medina under the tutelage of senior trainer Anne Marie McKay. Lately Sammie has added horse jumping to her repertoire and spends part of her practice time on a different horse learning how to jump the wooden hurdles.
“I need to get stronger and tougher, so I train a lot,” she says.
Sammie, her mom Wendy and Rohanna will be criss-crossing states and competing in horse shows most every weekend over the summer. Due to Sammie’s advanced level of riding acumen, she will be competing at level three out of four levels with mostly adult riders.
“It’s amazing when someone finds a passion at any age,” says Wendy, who admits she was a bit reticent when Sammie asked for a horse pretty quickly after she started. “I feel so blessed that Sammie has this in her life and that she truly loves what she is doing. We’re all excited to see how far this goes.”