The Hoot | 17
During the jumping phase, riders pull from a list of horses, get 20 minutes to
ride the horse they choose randomly and then get no more than five practice
jumps to become accustomed to the horse. Whether or not the warm up went
well, competitors then have to ride the horse over a course of jumps that can
be as high as 3’3”.
It’s a big advantage for people who know how to ride because when
someone who doesn’t know how to ride is jumping 3’3” it’s not always
pretty,” she said.
Now, at William Woods University, Bethea continues to ride, as well as
practice for and compete in pentathlons. She takes fencing twice a week with
the University of Missouri’s fencing coach; participates in the WWU track
team and runs every day; practices shooting in her room with a laser gun;
swims several times a week at the Westminster pool; and rides in a WWU
And the hard work pays off. Bethea was recently notified that she made the
USA team for the 2013 Pentathlon World Cup.
After graduating from William Woods, Bethea aspires to coach and continue
competing in pentathlons—maybe even working her way from the World
Cup to the Olympics.
I want to coach mostly riding and I’d also like to do track coaching just
because I love doing it,” she said. “I’d really love to have my own schedule
and be able to move around and be able to train [for the Olympics] if it
becomes a possibility to go. For now, I’m just trying to get through college.”
Bethea practices fencing. Her coach travels to Fulton to work with
Bethea once a week, and she practices with the University of Missouri team
once a week as well.
Photo courtesy of Petra Bethea)
Bethea rides Ava, a WWU hunter/jumper school horse.