Riley, Ranger are champs


Delaware Hayes High School sophomore Riley Geiger has horse riding in her blood.

Her parents met through their involvement with horses and her father, Jeff Geiger, has been running a horse business for the past 30 years. She first sat on a horse when she was about 2 months old. As her brother, Ryan Geiger, put it, they have been “pretty much riding before we could walk. … It definitely gets into your blood and becomes a part of who you are.”

Riley Geiger recently won the championships of the Western Pleasure class at the All American Youth Horse Show, which was held at the Ohio State Fair grounds in Columbus. She explained that the Western Pleasure class of the horse show is “based on the horse’s movements.” The horses are asked to perform three gaits: the walk, trot and lope.

Geiger said she appreciates that she has had the opportunity to ride horses. “It’s really cool for my life to be that, because many people don’t get to experience that.”

Geiger’s horse, Ranger, is 7 years old. He has belonged to Riley since he was 4 years old. Ranger, officially named Hot Roddin’ Ona Ranger, is a red roan horse. He has a red mane and his body is covered in a mix of red and white fur that makes him look as if he is passing through the salt-and-pepper stage of going white.

“Outside of the pen, he’s like a friend to me and inside the pen he’s like a business partner; we work together,” said Geiger of Ranger. “It’s really cool to make that connection with the horse.”

Geiger said showing horses is “probably one of the most time-consuming sports … but it’s definitely worth all the time it takes.” She said she feels her dedication has been worth it as “not only have I learned stuff about horses, but it’s taught me a lot about life.”

“It’s taught me about life and sportsmanship and everything,” she added.

Ryan Geiger feels that horses make a great hobby because, unlike many other sports, “you can always pick it up whenever you want to, at any age.” To illustrate the point, he mentioned family friends, also in the horse industry, who have an 80-year-old client.

Riley Geiger might someday emulate the octogenarian horseback rider. “I’m gonna try to stick with [riding horses] as long as I can,” she said.