Sophomore Tara Grom balances school with national horse show career

Sophomore Tara Grom may appear to be an average Eastern student, rushing to and from classes, eating in the Dining Commons and living a regular campus life.

However, Grom’s life on the weekends is probably much different than that of most Eastern students. Grom spends her weekends taking care of her horses, riding and training for her next horseback riding competition.

Most weekends, Grom heads to her home in Frenchtown, N.J. to ride and train, but often she travels to a competition, showing off her three competitive horses.

Grom mainly rides her own horses, but she also shows off her sister’s horses and other horses her parents are breeding.

“Some horses are better at some things,” Grom said. “It really depends on their breeding, gaits and athletic abilities.” These things help determine a horse’s division. Each of her horses are in different divisions.

Sometimes a horse’s abilities cannot be determined until later on in its life. Showing off some of the younger horses that her parents are breeding can be an investment, as Grom helps them grow into their individual abilities.

Grom rides most weekends during school, but during the summer she rides almost every day.

“I need to ride constantly to keep it up,” Grom said.

In addition to all her riding and competing, Tara is also a student like the rest of us. How does she do it?

“It’s really hard,” she said. “A lot of times I’ll have a lot of work to get done early. I can’t control when I compete.”

What makes things even more difficult is the length of the competitions. Competitions start on either a Wednesday or Thursday and continue until Saturday night.

This past summer, Grom placed second in the World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Ky., which she explains usually lasts from Monday until Saturday or Sunday. She is currently working towards the the American Royal National Championship Horse Show in Kansas City, Mo., which has a similar schedule. Grom won the national championship four times in the past.

Getting homework and studying done during these times is pretty difficult. So why does she do it?

“I’ve been doing it for so long,” Grom said. “I have no reason to stop.”

She started riding horses when she was three years old. Grom rode her Dad’s horse which stayed in a barn across the street from her home. She has been riding ever since.

“Not all people have the opportunity to do this. I have the opportunity and my parents’ support. It’s a lot of fun and relieves a lot of my stress,” Grom said.

Grom has never thought of stopping. She said that even though at times people in the industry can make competing very frustrating, it has never made her think of giving up. Grom admits that some day she will probably have to stop competing.

“I would like to … always ride,” Grom said.

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