When she is not teaching math at Chisholm Middle School, Cindy Rambo can often be found in the saddle. Rambo rides her 13-year-old palomino, Martin, and wins top awards around the country.
"My mother got me hooked on these horses a long time ago," Rambo said. "...I started riding when I was in seventh grade, so I've been doing this a long time."
Dozens of plaques and trophies line the walls and shelves in Rambo's home as a testament to her dedication to her riding career.
Rambo traveled to shows in many states, racking up enough points to win the Palomino Horse Breeders of America's Reserve All-Around High Point in the select class in 2012 and All-Around High Point in the same class the following year.
Last year's efforts brought Rambo the 2017 Palomino Horse Breeders of America All-Around High Point for the select class and Reserve All-Around High Point for the amateur class. She won first place in the amateur and select classes of showmanship, horsemanship and English equitation. Rambo also took first place in the select class for hunter under saddle and second place in the select class for trail riding.
"I was really pleased," Rambo said.
Rambo began showing Martin, whose registered name is "Saw the Magic," when he was 2 years old.
Rambo chose Martin for his height and temperament.
"He moved really nice and he was really quiet," Rambo recalled.
When they are training for shows, Rambo and Martin go through regular riding exercises.
"In the springtime and summer, we ride almost every day," Rambo said.
When he is not being ridden, Martin is kept in an indoor arena to keep his coat as dark as possible.
"When the sun is out, he has to stay inside," Rambo said.
The indoor space serves another practical function — giving Rambo a place to ride Martin while sheltered from rain, wind and cold.
"I figure, you know, I could go have therapy somewhere...or I can go to the barn," Rambo said.
Horse shows generally take up two or three days, with Rambo and Martin competing in several classes in which they are each scored on their performance.
"It's combined, him and I together, on the points," Rambo explained.
In the trail class, a horse and its rider must navigate realistic obstacles around a course.
"You have to open a gate, you have to walk over logs and a bridge," Rambo said. "You have to back through things and go around things that you would supposedly see out on the trail."
Rambo takes her Doberman Pinscher, Abby, with her when she travels to horse shows.
"The three of us get in the trailer and we just take off," Rambo said.
When she arrives at a show, Rambo meets up with other riders and their horses.
"It's kind of like a whole other group of friends — I have friends at work and I have horse show friends," Rambo said.
The camaraderie of riding and relaxing together creates a special relationship.
"When all of us get done showing, we go out to dinner together," Rambo said.
Owning and showing a horse is a hobby that takes more effort than most.
"It's too expensive and it's too tiring if you're not just having the best time of your life. It's a lot of work," Rambo laughed.
The hard work paid off for Rambo, who plans to continue riding for as long as she can.
"I love it," Rambo said. "I can't see myself being without a horse."