The Urban Legend

The School Newspaper of Urban School of San Francisco

The Urban Legend

The School Newspaper of Urban School of San Francisco

The Urban Legend

Emme the equestrian: Urban’s national champion

How does she do it all?
Photo credit: Emme Adamick and Andrew Ryback.

On October 15, 2023, Emme Adamick ‘24 and her regional team won gold at the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Junior Jumper National Championships in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The team Adamick competes with, which consists of teens from California and Nevada, had not won the competition since 2009. This win raises curiosity about how Adamick has gotten to this point of success and how it affects her life at Urban. 

The Junior Jumper National Championships is the second biggest national championship held in the U.S. for just American riders. The competition, which takes place at the end of each year, splits the United States into 10 zones. Zone one groups together Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island and zone 10 groups together California and Nevada. Each of the 10 zones sends the highest-placing competitors in their area of that year to the Junior Jumper National Championships. 

Placement within a zone is based on ranking, which depends on the amount of money riders win from competitions. The top riders are then sent to the national competition to compete individually against other zones. Since this is a youth competition, riders must be below 18 years old to be eligible. In addition to the win, the group receives a prize of $15,000 split among all winning riders on Adamick’s team.

The type of horseback riding that Adamick competes in is called show jumping, which is a course of 12 jumps that each rider has to clear. Show jumping competitions have a unique structure that lasts for multiple days. 

Across the USEF competition, which is three days long, the rider receives scores each day that add up to their group’s total sum. Due to the length of this competition, the momentum of one’s success can switch unexpectedly and a high level of consistent and precise technique is necessary to win. 

While there is admittedly a lot of pressure when competing in a national competition for any sport, Adamick was comfortable due to her past experience in these high-level competitions. 

“I do professional competitions that most kids my age don’t do, like international competitions where I was the youngest person in it,” said Adamick. “I’ve gone to Mexico, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. I competed against Olympians and 40-year-olds and placed among them.” 

Adamick is ranked highly among her riding competitors. 

“I was 12th individually in this national competition. So technically, that would make me 12th in the U.S. for my age,” she said. 

Adamick had no previous ties to the sport and her interest was a surprise to her family. “It was really random because nobody in my family had ridden. I wanted to do it and I remember my parents were like, ‘You can’t ride a horse ‘til you’re five,’” she said. “I started when I was five and then when I was eight or nine I started doing higher levels and moving up the ranks. I did my first international competition last year.”

Close friends are proud of Adamick’s victorious results, acknowledging the rigorous schedule that forces her to balance school with riding. 

“She keeps up with school at the same time, which is super impressive,” said Selena Corpuz ‘24. 

Another friend, Sephora Haileselassie ‘24, said, “She’s taking difficult classes and is on top of [her work] like 24/7.”

The rigorous schedule that comes with horseback riding at Adamick’s competitive level can cut into time for her school work and social life. 

“I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s just something that I’m used to doing, but it is difficult to miss many days of class and then have to learn new material,” she said. “It’s sort of sad to miss so many weekends competing and not be able to do fun school things, but it is worth it because riding is what I love.” 

Looking towards the future as a student and competitive rider, Adamick already has plans set for herself. “My plan is to ride in college, sort of like I’m doing now. Then out of college [I want] to work for someone as an assistant trainer,” she said. 

“Once I gain enough experience as a semi-professional, I want to start my own business, get sponsors and get horses that can take me to the levels that I want to compete at,” said Adamick. “My goal [in] life is to go to the Olympics and … ride for the U.S., and I am on track for that now.”


About the Contributor
Sid Goldfader-Dufty, Editor in Chief, Online