After a childhood of horseback riding, Jessica Franklin rekindled her passion for riding three years ago and, in May, was crowned a champion in the Run O’ The Mill Hunter Jumper Show at the Washington County Fair Park and Conference Center, located between Jackson and West Bend.
Franklin, an attorney at Godfrey & Kahn S.C., practices hunt seat riding, a style of English riding that is based on the tradition of old English foxhunts. The style challenges riders and their horses to complete flat work exercises on the ground and jumps over fences.
Franklin works on polishing her moves during lessons once a week with her horse, Kentucky, a Holsteiner she leases that lives at a barn in Cedarburg. She also makes time to ride him at least once more each week.
Franklin, who began riding at age 6 and who also competed in youth shows, entered the Run O’ The Mill competition this year to try to overcome her fear of showing, which spiked her nerves as a kid, she said.
Along with succeeding in her placement at the competition, she successfully conquered her nerves and had fun, she said.
For Franklin, riding has become a key source of stress relief.
“You have to pay such close attention to what you’re doing when you’re trying to negotiate with a giant animal to jump over a little fence,” she said. “You really have to be present and there’s no room in your brain…for worrying about extraneous things. You have to be all there.”