It’s hard to figure out where OVS senior Caspian Ellis finds the time. She takes a deep breath, mounts the horse, fills out college applications, and tackles the hardships of being a high school student all in one day.
Senior Caspian Ellis is a go-getter at OVS and a top scholar who continuously defines the ideal student here at the school. As if being a full-time student and participant at OVS wasn’t enough, she also is a nationally ranked equestrian, riding five days a week and competing various times throughout the year.
She began riding at age four at the Lower Campus, and with support and guidance from her mother, she excelled. A year later, Caspian was in the arena showing in the Pony Division which includes skills like walking, trotting, and cantering.
“My mom growing up had horses in her backyard and began riding at a young age,” said Caspian. “But she eventually quit when she went into college. When I was little and I wanted to start riding, my mom got back into the sport and rode with me until I was about nine so she could help me pursue my dream of becoming a competitive rider.”
Caspian’s parents have been extremely supportive through her riding career and have invested a lot of time to help her become a top athlete. But her success stems from her own passion and drive.
“[Caspian] is such a hardworking, organized individual,” said her mother, Shannon Ellis. “[She] is very inwardly competitively and very inwardly focused. As a parent, what I am trying to do is to create some sense of balance in her life and not working too hard.”
Now, Caspian rides at the Whitethorne LLC barn where she spends most of her time with trainers and fellow riders. Riding a variety of horses, she is a strong equitation rider, which is a class that includes jumping and flatwork like trotting and cantering. She has competed in multiple championships and has become one of the top competitors in her age group for equitation riding.
But her relationship with riding is not just what is displayed in the arena. Caspian has gone through a personal journey with equestrian which resulted in her becoming a more serious rider, putting in more time and work.
“The connections that I have made to the sport [are] definitely a part of my love for the sport,” said Caspian. “But more so than that, just having dedicated twelve years of my life to [riding], it has become second nature for me and I haven’t really done anything else.”
At the beginning of this school year, Caspian put in many hours of training and time to qualify for a West Coast Championship Series, a multi-event competition that runs through the fall season. In this competition, she is able to showcase her skills on a much larger platform. But unfortunately, this means missing classes and school – though that is nothing new for her.
“I’ve been having to leave school [for riding] since elementary school,” explained Caspian. “I want to be one of the top [riders] in the nation and I am almost there. But just the act of getting there is a lot harder than some people realize.”
Caspian upholds her commitments to both academics and equestrian. Unlike her fellow riding peers, who are mostly homeschooled, she attends a private college prep school where she has a rigorous course load. She is a top student at the school, having taken a total of 10 Advanced Placement courses in 3 years.
“She was a member of OVS’s great girls’ league champion cross-country running team,” said Caspian’s former teacher, Terry Wilson. “At the same time, she is winning championships with her horse at many Southern California events…Knowing how much time and talent it takes to be a top-level equestrian competitor, I am impressed and honored to acknowledge her great efforts and accomplishments.”
In the next eight weeks, Caspian will be attending the Hits Desert Circuit in Palm Springs, California, an international show that invites riders from around the world. She will showcase her horsemanship skills as well as her ability to care for her horse.
After returning from the first of these competitions, Caspian brought home the first-place prize in equitation, and she hopes to continue this momentum in the upcoming weeks.
Caspian is excited to continue her journey into the next phase of her life: college and life after high school. Caspian hopes that the college that she will commit to will let her defer and take a gap year so she can compete full-time. With the potential of having a collegiate career, she remains fully dedicated to her riding and her academics, and is taking her future by the reins.Share