Avery Bul spends most of her free time horsing around. Well, sort of. The 17-year-old Hillcrest High School student has been riding horses since she was just 5. Today, Bul competes nationally in saddle seat style, an English style of riding that was developed in the . She recently qualified for a national riding competition, so this fall she’ll head to the St. Louis National Charity Show to try for another big win. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also been named the Texas State High Point Champion. No doubt, this teen’s got the reigns on victory in the riding ring.


How often do you compete?

There aren’t a lot of competitions in Texas, so during the summer, a group of girls from my barn go to Kentucky because that’s where all of the major shows are. It’s about nine girls, plus two trainers, and we all live there for the summer, and we show almost every day.


And you recently qualified for a national competition?

Yes. I actually qualified for the St. Louis National Charity Show three times, so this will be my second [time to compete]. I qualified last year, but this was my first year in the senior class.


What was it like the first time you won a competition?

It was really shocking. I was riding this horse named Home Run. I didn’t even know my number. They announced my number and I was just sitting there. Then they announced my name and my horse’s name, [and] then my trainer came and got me. My mom was going crazy. She thought it was just great.


How are you judged?

I’m an equitation rider and we’re known for elegance, attitude and poise. Attitude is something you have to come up with yourself. It’s also about showmanship and being a good performer. You don’t want to be cocky, but you also want to have something that makes the judges want to watch you. The more they look at you, the better.


What horse do you compete with?

I have my own horse, his name is the Rose Merchant, but we call him Eeyore. He makes this really weird noise when I show him: He kind of squeals like a pig. But last time I went to nationals, I just went out there on a whim, and I didn’t have a horse to compete with. I had to borrow a friend’s horse who had never done the patterns before. We ended up placing ninth though, so we did pretty well.


What do you like about competing?

Right before you ride, you get a huge adrenaline rush. It’s like a total brainwash. I don’t even notice the other people until we’re done. It’s like, ‘Whoa, where did they come from?’


What do you like about saddle seat riding?

It’s different. Not that many people know about it. And Mom does it, so it’s something we can do together.


What do your friends think?

My friends at school think it’s cool that I’m good at this sport and they want to come out and watch me — but I don’t want them to because when I ride, I have to wear really weird outfits. We wear men’s collar shirts, a tie and vest. And we have a jacket and long riding pants. All my guy friends ask me to pick out ties, because I have to buy them all the time for my riding. That’s actually my favorite thing to shop for.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.