MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Equestrian vaulting is a unique sport that combines the love for gymnastics, dance and horses into an exciting performance. Kimberly Wellmann is the coach for the Tall City Vaulters in West Texas and she fell in love with this sport when she was in high school.
"I had been doing other equestrian sports, rodeo and things like that. My high school history teacher, at the time, heard that I loved horses and told me I should come try this sport. His wife, Patty, was a dressage instructor. They had been in Germany and learned about the sport in Europe where it kind of originated. He invited me out and one jump on the horse and I was hooked," said Kimberly Wellmann.
Kimberly is currently a PHD student at Texas Tech and is working in animal nutrition. Her love for animals, especially horses, has developed her passion for equestrian vaulting.
"Because there are so few clubs spread throughout Texas. I've kind of taken vaulting everywhere with me. I'm going to have the horses, no matter what. Three of the four horses that are out here behind us are mine. Whenever they come, they move across the state with me. I almost always find someone who wants to play around on them and learn about vaulting," said Wellmann.
For now, Kimberly has retired as a vaulter but she is not hanging up her vaulting shoes just yet.
"I think I've gotten most of what I want to do out of it. I really have developed as a lunger. This person actually makes the horse go around. I currently have Canadians, Brazilians and a few competitors from Mexico that actually want to use Moon, the horse that's tacked up in white. They want to use her for international competitions that are hosted here in the United States. I've actually been asked if I could lung at the World Equestrian Games, which are hosted in Tryon, North Carolina, next fall. I think my role, my biggest role in vaulting, is lunging and making international connections," said Wellmann.
The World Equestrian Games are held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle. Kimberly hasn't accepted any of those offers yet because she's focused on earning her PHD. If she does decide to accept, the games will be held from September 11 to the 23 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.