Click the Buzz Me button to receive email notifications when this writer publishes a new article or a new article in this column is published.
Tessa Downey competes in year-round events. (Photo: Andrew Ryback)
There are many busy students at St. Francis, but Tessa Downey has them all beat. While also balancing schoolwork, she practices horseback riding six days a week and often does not attend school on Fridays due to competitions. With her busy schedule, she has all A’s and B’s, and she dominates at her sport.
Since riding doesn’t have a specific season, Downey competes in year-round events like the Devon Horse Show, The Indoor Series, and the Winter Equestrian Festival. She practices at PJP Farms in Magnolia, Texas with her trainers Peter Pletcher, Ken Smith, and Emily Smith. Tessa loves horses. She has ridden many horses in her career, but her favorite is her Hanoverian gelding, Moo. Yes, Moo, like the noise a cow makes! Tessa has had Moo for two and a half years. He is 17.2 hands tall which is about 5’7”.
Though Downey is only 5’4”, she is still able to control such a massive animal. Despite his imposing stature, Moo is apparently very sweet and loves to be around people. He and Downey have competed in 30+ competitions together and have placed highly in many. Downey was scouted by the University of Georgia and was given an offer to join their highly ranked equestrian team.
“The coaches were amazing hosts and the girls on the team are great role models,” says Downey, “[Also] the academics are unparalleled.” She will join the Bulldog Nation in 2023 to continue her riding career. Tessa wants to either continue riding professionally or become an entrepreneur by studying business at UGA’s prestigious Terry College of Business and ride on the side. Tessa Downey is the first junior to already receive an offer from a university.
Tessa is grateful for everything St. Francis has done for her including accommodating her competition schedule.
“I want to thank the amazing faculty and administration at St Francis Episcopal High School for affording me the flexibility to continue riding while [also] attending school.” she says. We know Tessa will succeed at the University of Georgia and we wish her the best of luck.