Please join us in welcome Sierra Sekula to the family! An avid fan of the outdoors, we knew we wanted to get to know Sierra and find out what drove her. She was gracious and took some time to answer our questions and even allowed us to post her answers here! We hope you enjoy learning about Sierra. If you see her out and about in San Antonio, make sure to say HI!
HR: Thank you Sierra. We’re going to start off with some basic questions. Where were you born, and where do you live?
SS: I was born in San Antonio, Texas and moved back here 18 years later after living in Falls City, Texas, Ridgeway, Colorado, and Wimberley, Texas.
HR: It sounds like you’ve lived in a few interesting places. Which area do you prefer riding and fishing in?
SS: I love riding in the hill country because that had always been home to me. I love getting out of the arena and and onto the trails where the horse doesn’t feel like it has to do any work and can be itself.
HR: How did you discover your passion for riding? Was it family, friends or something else?
SS: I have always been fascinated with horses and have been riding since I was 5 where I enjoy learning different riding and training techniques. I’m currently learning about the American Saddlebred industry. I’ve also fished since I was old enough to use a reel and believe in passing on the sport to younger generations. I feel that fishing and horseback riding help build character in both kids and adults.
HR: You mentioned different riding techniques. Which of those techniques do you prefer?
SS: Being a Texas girl, I would have to say that Western riding is definitely my favorite. I love the relaxed sense of comfort I get when I climb into a western saddle. Even though my riding is rooted in Western riding, I still have a really big appreciation for English riding as well and can definitely give credit to it for making me a better rider.
HR: You said that you believe fishing and horseback riding build character. What is it about these activities that does that?
SS: I believe that outdoor activities like fishing and riding build character because we experience so many things that we will always experience in life outside the sport. The biggest one is patience. You have to be patient for the tug on the other end of the line when you’re out in the water. You have to be patient when your horse doesn’t get that lead change. When you catch a hard head, you have to want to throw that line out and try again despite your discouragement. When you fall off your horse, you have to want to get back on no matter how much your body might hurt or how scared you were. Sometimes it takes a while, too. After a bad fall of my horse in 2011 where I broke my back and elbow, I was very skeptical to get back on and was in no hurry to be loping a horse again. It takes time to build that confidence back, but you have to want to try again and love the sport past its let downs, scares, disappointments, tests, and trials.
HR: Can you give us a story about your favorite time horseback riding?
SS: Barn play days have always been a favorite activity of mine because win or lose, everyone seems to have a good time. One of my favorite memories was when my friends and I once spent a weekend at a large stable outside of Houston during Christmas break where we strung hammocks across the stalls after the play day was over and we actually weathered out a cold front that blew in during the night. It kind of gave a new meaning to feeling “right at home” at the barn! That morning during the games, I won a keyhole race on really beautiful Palomino that I had borrowed named Dusty. He spun a perfect circle and we flew back across the line with everyone screaming and cheering and made the best time even though I had lost a stirrup. Even though I was only eleven, I felt like I had just won the NFR.
HR: Are there any other activities that you like to be involved in?
SS: I love rock climbing, kayaking, mudding, tubing, hiking, jogging, swimming, and boating. Oh and shooting sports!
HR: Of everything you do, what is your favorite?
SS: I’m definitely happiest with either reigns or a fishing pole in my hands.
HR: When you contacted us, you said you got your first Hoo-Rag from another Ambassador, Chad Brock. Which of the Hoo-Rags is your favorite?
SS: Definitely the Groovy-Hoo (discontinued).
HR: You said you loved the versatility of the Hoo-Rag. How do you use them while riding/fishing?
SS: Being a girl with really long hair, my favorite way to use my Hoo-Rag is for a headband. It always stays in place and I never have to worry about it. I don’t want to have to take my hands off my fishing pole, or off of my reigns to adjust my hair or push my bangs out of my eyes. It really is the better bandana. My friends joke about seeing me on the plane to Tennessee going to the Chattanooga-Cleveland Charity Horse Show where they spotted me in my seat sleeping with one Hoo-Rag in my hair as a headband, and one covering my entire face to block out the light and keep the a/c from blowing on me. They said I looked a pretty funny but I was the only one on our row that slept through the entire three hour flight.
HR: Before we let you go, if you could give budding equestrians a tip, what would it be?
SS: For anyone wanting to get onto a horse, I would really suggest looking into different styles of riding to understand what exactly you can do with it. For instance, you can go into dressage or jumping with English riding, or barrel racing, showing, or roping with Western riding. Stick with it, but also don’t be afraid to try something new, it will only add to your skills and understanding.