Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Blake signs with South Dakota State equestrian program

November 24, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

A lifelong dream for Traer's Grace Blake came to fruition on Tuesday, Nov. 19 as the North Tama senior signed to the South Dakota State University equestrian program, where she will continue to pursue her passion for riding horses.

"What drew me to SDSU was being close to home, when I do need to drive back home in case of an emergency," Blake said. "There's no riding colleges in the state of Iowa and you need to go out of state to find one. SDSU also has an excellent nursing program, which I'm interested in. The campus is nice and the equestrian program along with it."

Blake has been riding since the age of three at the insistence of her grandmother. She began riding professionally at seven years old and has since traveled the country for shows, received national rankings and became a world champion. As she grew up and realized she couldn't participate in both school sports and riding, she decided to choose horses due the larger commitment they take. Years later, she will be part of a Division I athletic program.

Article Photos

Grace Blake signs with the equestrian program at South Dakota State University on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

"It takes a lot of dedication and hard work," Blake said. "Anyone who's committed to sports would understand to be good and excel at what you do. You have to practice every day, go to lifting programs for it and you are part of a team just like any other college sport."

With the equestrian program, Blake will compete in Western Pleasure horsemanship competitions, which requires riding an unfamiliar horse and completing a set pattern in front of judges. Riders have four minutes to warm up with the horse before showing to the judges.

"I'm very excited to see where this can take me," Blake said. "It's a thrill to still ride and have a passion for it in college while I'm getting an education."

Article Map

Blake was diagnosed with Stage 2 Thyroid cancer in 2016, the start of her freshman year of high school. A tumor was found on the left side of her neck, requiring two surgeries and missed school and showing her horses over the fall season because of radiation treatment. After years of treatment, Blake was able to compete once again and attend classes on a regular basis. She has a message for any athletes who are going through the same experience as she did.

"If you have challenges, you can overcome them and it will make you a stronger person who wants to achieve more," Blake said. "I want to thank my family, especially my grandma when she had me riding at three. My trainers have helped me over the years. I've shown so many amazing horses over the years that got me here."



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web