In just a ‘baker’s dozen’ of years, eighth grader Taylor Cave has achieved more than many people twice her age.
She is accomplished in horsemanship and is a good student; she plays volleyball for the Evergreen Middle School (EMS) team and is the Evergreen Rodeo Junior Princess.
Currently a student at West Jeff’ Middle School, Taylor knows people on both the Evergreen and Conifer side of our community. “I went to Wilmot Elementary for third through fifth grade, and Evergreen Middle School for sixth grade. Now I’ve been at West Jeff’ for two years, so I know a lot of different people.”
For three seasons Taylor was a part of Westernaires, the equestrian youth organization that works with youth 9-19 years old in drill teams. “We call them seasons, not years, because you don’t really stop. They have very strict attendance requirements because they want you to keep up, otherwise you lose skills. I had to be there every weekend,” said Taylor.
She decided that there were other things she wanted to do, so she left the organization but remained dedicated to equestrian interests by turning to the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). Taylor is on the middle school team. Taylor and her family have four horses. Even though she has her own horse (“Pippa”), IEA provides horses for their members. “I go to my assistant coach’s barn. We use his horses and have team rides.” Taylor and her teammates have to catch, saddle, and groom the horses before each ride and afterward must unsaddle and brush them. “It’s important to take care of your horse.”
IEA is divided into zones, Taylor’s includes all of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, and “so we travel. Whoever is hosting the competition provides horses,” she explained. The competitions involve not only walking, jogging and loping, but Taylor and her teammates have to memorize a pattern on the course. She recently won her zone finals and went on to Nationals. “I didn’t place, but I still went,” she said with a proud (and charming) smile.
The team aspect, along with the travel adds to the interest and fun. “I like traveling; it’s fun! We have team dinners and everyone stays at the same hotel,” she smiled. “We’ll all plan to meet down at the pool at the same time and spend time together.” IEA also provides college scholarships to members, something for Taylor to work toward in the coming years.
Taylor has decided that she wants to be a dentist one day. “I know I may change my mind, but right now, that’s what I want to do.” Asked ‘why’ she said, “I like to go to the dentist.” Her dentist, Dr. College, just happens to also love horses.
Taylor is currently serving her year-long term as Evergreen Rodeo Junior Princess, a designation she was awarded this past May. “I modeled ‘casual’ and was asked questions that I had to answer in front of everyone.” Asked what her responsibilities are, she said, “I help with mutton bustin’ at the rodeo, and help wherever I’m needed.” She also was invited to the Queen’s luncheon where she mingled with royalty from across the state.
“Before I went through this competition, I was a little shy. But now I know how to walk up to people and introduce myself and ask them questions.” Working through the ranks of rodeo royalty is known for developing poise and confidence in the young women who compete.
Like any middle-school girl, Taylor finds it a challenge to make sure that she is taking care of everything in her life. “I make sure that I ride Pippa two or three times a week. It’s hard because I have volleyball and homework and other things, but I know it’s important.”
Taylor and her family work in equine rescue. Over 30 horses were rescued from North Park recently. They bought three horses at auction; a mother and foal and a gelding. “It was hard work, but it was worth it,” said Taylor with a shrug. “I like rescue.”
Meanwhile, after studying the violin for three years, she switched to the flute. “I do private lessons. Last year I was the fourth chair of ten. This year I’m the second chair of seven. I’m so happy!”
She also loves to ski and snowboard, and when she gets home from a fun day on the slopes she takes care of two dogs, a cat, and four chicks in addition to Pippa and the other horses. “Oh! I also have a bearded dragon,” explaining it’s a big lizard.
Taylor proves that she is a hard worker and a caring person. It will be fun to discover what else this power-house has in store in the future.