No Horsing Around Here: North Atlanta’s Equestrian Team Trains Hard, Despite a Small Team


Sydney Heaton

Saddle Up: North Atlanta’s equestrian tandem of seniors Shobini Palaniappan and Sydney Heaton are getting ready for the upcoming competition season.

Giddy up Warriors, it’s riding season! The North Atlanta Equestrian Team is a program where both beginner and experienced riders can do what they love. Ride! Headed by the IEA – the International Equestrian Association – Dubs do not even have to own a horse in order to participate and be a part of the team. The IEA has a barn in Smyrna where they house the horses they provide. The team has been fiercely competing for two years in a row with their trainer, Molly Sinder, and they are now getting ready for the new competition season, which starts in October.

Senior Shobini Palaniappan has been riding on the North Atlanta team for all four years of her high school career. As a freshman, she discovered the equestrian team looking for a new sport to try out. Scrolling through the available extracurriculars and sports available to North Atlanta students, she knew she wanted to be more involved in the school. Upon seeing the equestrian team, she dared to be bold and decided to join it. “I think it was a great choice to join the team. I have loved every second of it,” she said.  

Senior Sydney Heaton has been a part of the team for three years of her time as a Warrior. As the other member of North Atlanta’s equestrian team, she found it in her sophomore year. After some time on the horseback, she came to enjoy riding and doing what she loves. For Heaton, the thrill of being on a horse is second to none. ‘Exhilarating’ is the word she uses to describe the sport. “It has been a fantastic experience getting to ride and represent my school,” she said. “I think if others gave it a chance they would love it just as much as I do.” 

Though they practice on their own, the team of two is a force to be reckoned with. Their small numbers are not stopping this tandem from training hard. They are eagerly looking for new members to join as their competition season gets closer. It is never too late to try something new here at North Atlanta, a place where you are encouraged to discover new passions. So, get your cowboy boots on and saddle up Dubs!