For years, Grace Rembold watched her older sisters Maddy and Zoe play volleyball for Missouri Sports Hall of Fame coach Lori Hanaway at O’Hara High School.

“For as long as I can remember, volleyball was a way of life for our family, and I loved it,” said Rembold, a senior at Blue Springs High School. “I couldn’t wait to play in high school, but ...”

Her voice trailed off as she recalled a series of serious shoulder injuries she experienced while trying to fulfill the same legacy enjoyed by her sisters.

“I had a chronic soft-tissue issue – it was almost like, every time I swung my arm to hit the ball it popped out of place, so I finally had to give up the sport around my eighth grade year in school,” she said. “With volleyball, you’re either all in, or all out, and I was out! It was tough. I like to keep busy and I needed something to do, so I looked into horseback riding. My mom grew up riding horses, so we looked into that and I fell in love with the sport.”

The sport she is talking about is eventing – or an equestrian triathlon. This story has more than a happy ending as Rembold found a pot of gold at the end of her search for a rainbow and a new best friend, her horse, Beau.

Like her sisters, who each won state championships in volleyball at O’Hara, Rembold is now a metro area eventing champion as she and Beau were named the Mid-America Combined Training Association Starter Novice rider and Overall Horse of the Year.

“It was definitely a life lesson moment when I had to give up something I loved, but I found something I loved even more,” the vice president of the Blue Springs High School FFA Chapter said. “To win that award, you go through a series of competitive events.”

“They include dressage, which is flat work – almost like a horse ballet. Then there is cross country, which is an open one-and-a-half-mile course that includes obstacles like logs, fences and ditches. And then the show jumping, which takes place in an arena. I didn’t know that I could love something as much as eventing.”

“It’s now as much a part of my life as volleyball was for my two sisters. And I know I couldn’t do this without supportive parents, and my mom, Mary, and dad, Bryan, have been unbelievable. If you think volleyball is expensive, try owning a horse.”

Throughout the interview, Rembold’s larger-than-life personality and wit are apparent.

While her horse’s official name is Beau, he goes by a different moniker at meets.

“His show name is Boyfriend Material,” Rembold said, chuckling. “It’s like, they announce us and they say over the loudspeakers, ‘Grace Rembold, riding Boyfriend Material.’ We get a good laugh out of that.”

Rembold, an honor roll student, will attend Oklahoma State University and study bio-systems engineering, which will likely take her into the world of medicine or agriculture.

“They have an equestrian team at OSU, and I’m going to look into it,” she said. “I won’t be taking Beau with me right away, but he’ll be with me at OSU soon. I can’t imagine being away from him for too long of a period. We need each other.”

 

 

Fact box

The Mid-America Combined Training Association was established in 1974 to promote educational, competitive and schooling opportunities for the sport of eventing (an equestrian triathlon) in the metro area.

How to earn awards:

• Riders must be an MACTA member in good standing.

• Awards are presented to starter/novice through preliminary levels.

• A horse must earn points in a minimum of two MACTA-sponsored events to be eligible for awards

• Riders are required to audit standings, but are not responsible for submitting their results