Humans of Baldwin: Equestrian and Scholar

Senior Sasha Deringer describes the challenges and successes of her astounding horseback riding career.


Image courtesy of Vivian Palmer ‘24

Sasha posing with Outlook (left) and Kadootje (right) after winning 1st and 2nd place ribbons.

Sasha Deringer is a senior at Baldwin, and has been here since 8th grade. She is a diligent student who will be attending Washington University in St. Louis next fall. 

Beyond Baldwin, Sasha is a talented horseback rider who trains with Jonathan Martin at Hunt Hill Farm. She has been competing since 2018, and competes with her two horses Outlook and Kadootje in the 3’6” Junior Hunters.

Sasha finished last year ranked 3rd in the Large Junior Hunter 3’3” 16-17. This year she is currently ranked 2nd in the Small and Large Junior Hunter 3’6” 16-17 divisions with competitions to come. 

How would you describe your relationship with your horses? 

I’ve had both of my horses for a little while now. Outlook, who we call Bear in the barn, I’ve had for about a year and a half. Kadootje, who we call Doodles, I’ve had for almost a year now. The relationship you have with your horse is a very important part of the sport, and [since] I’ve had them and competed with them, I’ve gotten to know them better. They have each taught me different things in the sport and I’ve been able to grow with them a lot, as they both helped me move up to a new competition height this year.

Have you ever been scared of riding because of the high jumps? If so, how did you overcome this fear?

There is always a little bit of nerves involved. I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable with more experience. In December, when the new competition season started, I moved up to a new jumping height. I now jump 3 feet 6 inches and the change was definitely nerve wracking. I think the most important part is that you have to stay calm and collected. Just breathe. The more panicked you are, the more disorganized you are going to be. 

How do you balance school with traveling nationwide for horseback riding?

Baldwin has been really great about my traveling schedule. Because I do IPE each sport season, I have a lot of flexibility, and since my barn is half an hour away, I am able to leave school during G-Block to make my lesson on time. So much of managing schoolwork is about time management and staying on top of things. If I know I am traveling for a week, and I’m going to miss a Friday of school, I make sure to stay in touch with all my teachers. I like to try to make up exams and projects before I leave rather than after so that the work doesn’t pile up. I also always do work during my competitions. 

What are some things that you learned in your sport that you would say to someone who wants to excel as much as you have?

I’ve been very lucky with all the opportunities I’ve had to compete and practice. That’s something that is so important about excelling in your sport: staying dedicated to it, and making sure you show up to practices and work hard. Horseback riding is such a difficult sport both mentally and physically. You have to stay focused, especially when memorizing what jumps you are going over. 

It’s taught me that I have to remain calm in situations, and that nothing comes easy in life, but if you put enough effort into something you will often succeed. Sometimes I hit rough patches, but if I keep practicing, usually it clicks for me and I end up learning so much from the situation. Sometimes when you are struggling, that’s when you learn the most.