By Emma Jo Hirschy, Aviator editor-in-chief

While every little girl goes through their “I love horses phase,” Taylor Kellam admits she never outgrew it.

Kellam, a De Pere High School senior, will be off to the University of South Carolina to partake in their equestrian program. Not only has Kellam been offered a partial scholarship to the university, but she will also be competing under the horsemanship category during competitions which primarily focus on how a horse rides and looks.

Being raised in a home where horseback riding was very common, Kellam’s mother sparked her love for horses. “My mom rode horses and that interested me,” Kellam explained. “I grew up loving horses so I just started riding.”

Since age seven, Kellam has been putting countless hours of training with her horses at a stable in Denmark. Roughly two to three days of her week involve training and bonding with her horse. According to Kellam, she has had three horses in the years of competing.

Reflecting over her years of competing, Kellam enumerated that her favorite memory involved a horse that has since passed away.

“She was younger when we got her so she wasn’t as trained,” Kellam said. “We went to a big state show and we ended up getting 7th out of 40 other horses. It was really relieving to me that all of my hard work had paid off.”

Since equestrian is out of the mainstream, Kellam says that she feels that it’s an opportunity for her to educate others that basketball and football are not the only sports out there.

“I have had people even ask me if it is a NCAA sport,” Kellam commented. “It is interesting to know that I am educating other people on it.”

Most of all, Kellam said her favorite part of competing is where she gets to form a bond with the horse.

“You two work together as a team and you both put out your best efforts,” she said.

In the end, Kellam gave all of her credit to both her parents and trainers.

“My parents gave me the opportunity to ride and they supported it and without my past trainers, I wouldn’t be anywhere,” she said.

Kellam plans on majoring in nursing while a student at the University of South Carolina.