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Ole Miss Student’s Passion for Horse Riding Continues after Graduation

horse 1“It’s not just a sport. It’s a passion” is what Julie Roher tells people when they ask her about horse riding.

Roher’s passion for horses started at the young age of four when her mom bought her a pony. After that she was hooked on horses and all things related.

“The companionship between horse and rider is my favorite part about riding,” Roher said. “It’s just cool being in a sport while you’re riding a 1,200-pound animal.”

Roher began taking lessons at age seven and continued riding and competing in horse shows until she graduated high school, when she decided leave her beloved horse, Sassy, at home to come to the University of Mississippi.

This was not an easy decision for the horse-lover, but to make the most of her freshman experience, Roher thought it was the best decision. She wanted to join a sorority, make friends and enjoy everything freshman year had to offer, and felt that would be tough with a horse she wanted to ride everyday.

“I originally knew I didn’t want to bring her because I’d be at the barn everyday, making it hard for me to make friends,” Roher said. “I really wanted to join a sorority and make friends that way, and I figured freshman year would be really busy anyway.”

horseCome senior year, Roher’s mom suggested she bring her horse to a barn in Memphis and Roher was thrilled at the idea of being able to ride her horse again. After extensive research, Roher found the perfect barn in Memphis, and they arranged to bring her horse from Texas to Tennessee.

“My new barn in Memphis just sent over one of their people with a little two horse trailer, and he drove out to Texas, picked up my horse and the next day drove all the way back to Memphis,” Roher said.

Now that her horse resides in Memphis, Roher tries to take as much time out of her busy schedule as she can to visit and ride her horse. Roher is a senior accounting major and spent the first ten weeks of the spring semester working as an intern for Deloitte in Dallas, Texas. She is back in Oxford, preparing for graduation and graduate school that awaits her in the fall.

“Finding the time is the most challenging thing about it all,” Roher said. “I find the time to ride, but it’s hard to fit it in a schedule.”

horse 3Kelsey Sanders has been Roher’s roommate for the past three years and is very familiar with Roher’s dedication to her passion. Sanders knows that by the amount of time Roher spends even traveling to the barn, an hour and a half each way, that it is something Roher truly loves and makes a priority.

“Anyone who knows her agrees that if she could spend a whole day doing anything in the world, it would be riding her horse,” Sanders said. “The fact that she makes it a priority on top of school and everything else she is involved in shows how committed she is and how important it is to her.”

As for the future, Roher knows she will be riding horses for as long as she can. Roher has goals to improve her riding to where she and her horse can jump higher. Roher wants to reach the grand prix level of jumping, the highest level, with jumps as tall as 5-feet 3-inches.

“I plan on doing it for the rest of my life,” Roher said. “I want to compete in the grand prix and have my own grand prix horse at least before I die. That’s the end goal.”

Sydney Nutt is an intern with hottytoddy.com, and is a student at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Sydney can be reached at sgnutt@go.olemiss.edu.

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