Miller heads for equestrian goldPublished 3:56pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Bainbridge Middle School student Parker Miller is skipping school this week to compete in the American Eventing Championships held in Tyler, Texas. The 12-year-old seventh grader is an avid equestrian who has moved up the ranks quickly since her first horse trial in July 2012. Since, she has trained with U.S. Olympic medalists in the sport and has captured the attention of some big names in the field.
Miller participates in three-phase horse trials — meaning she competes in three events including dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping. Currently she competes on a novice level, which means she jumps hurdles that are 2’11 feet tall and nearly three feet wide.
In her first year of competing in horse trials, Miller has moved quickly through the levels of competing and her coach Rick Wallace of Cherry Hill Farms in Tallahassee, Fla. calls Miller a natural.
““Parker seems to have a very natural talent for the sport,” Wallace said. “She works very hard when we train to get as much as she can out of every lesson.”
Her parents, Pete and Marcie Miller said her talent has caught them by surprise as they go from tournament to tournament.
“It is really unusual for a child this young to be competing at this level,” Marcie, her mother said. “She trained with several Olympic athletes that are medalists this summer and it has really been a relationship building experience for her.”
Miller started riding at age four at Lake Douglas stables.
“I wanted to ride then but it has really grown and developed into something more for me,” Miller said.
She recently competed in an eventing championship and placed third in novice out of contestants from across the southeast. After this weekend’s events in Texas, Miller will begin competing, she said, in a training level and head to regional events in Atlanta.
She said her hope for the tournament this week is to incur as little penalties in dressage as possible.
““I am looking forward to just having a great time because I have a lot of friends that are going to the championship,” Miller said. “I’m just trying to finish on my dressage score without adding any penalties.”