TYLER - With all of the big name sports in East Texas, they're are some talented athletes that don't get much attention. 14-year-old Lauren Combest is leaving her mark here in Tyler, and is doing so with the help of a horse.
"Sampson, he's an 8-year-old thoroughbred, he's a green horse, he's very playful, he's very curious, he likes to have toys and Samson and I have really grown, he's a really good horse," explains Combest.
The All Saints equestrian champ has punched her ticket to nationals, and for Combest this is a dream come true.
"I started when I was 10 and I went to a small barn near my house and this year I made it to zones and advanced to nationals," says Combest.
Combest is participating in the IEA National Finals Hunt Seat competition, and for her being able to ride isn't just about trying to win, it's about building a bond with the horse.
"The horse can feel your emotions, so if you're angry at something, he'll be angry, if you're sad, he'll be sad, if you're happy, he'll be happy, if you're confident, he'll be confident," states Combest.
According to Combest, when it comes to competing there are different classes as well as courses that you can participate in, and some that can only be available to the rider once they are of a certain age. But for Combest being able to control a horse is thrilling.
"It gives you such a rush, your adrenalin goes up and it's thrilling and exciting. You can jump, you can do cross country, gallop, dressage, all sorts of stuff," says Combest.
Yet, with everything on the line, the best part is still being able to bridge the gap between man and animal.