Meet Christi Gordon: Reining Competitor
Interview by Abi Gordon
Your name and age is? My name is Christi Gordon, I’m 18 years old, and I’m a sophomore at Colorado Christian University.
How did you become a Christian?
The day I became a Christian was the biggest mile marker in my life. In late November 1996, my parents vacationed to Frisco, Colorado, to spend a weekend away. It was during this time that I began to be aware of God working on my heart. I was only three years old at the time, yet I knew something was missing from my life. I knew that Jesus was calling me to Himself and I was ready to give my life to Him. Desperately I wanted to talk with someone, but my parents were away and I felt uncomfortable talking with anyone else. Little did I realize that at about this same time, my mom had come down with the stomach flu, and as a result, they came home early from their trip. God works in unusual ways, and I never expected that just when I needed my parents most, God would make a way. The night they arrived home, November 30, I announced that I wanted to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. My parents lovingly prayed with me, but a three year old, they thought? Could she really be serious? I was. I knew that Jesus died for me and I wanted to accept His Gift. From that day on, I have been growing closer to Jesus as different trials draw me to Him, and as godly people He has surrounded me with encourage me in the Lord.
What are your main interests? (Outside of spending time with Jesus and family/friends): Riding reining horses, playing baseball, working out, playing the piano, drawing horses (Custom Horse Portraits), baking, singing, and math.
Tell us about your family (parents, siblings, etc.). I am the oldest of the children in the family, I have three siblings, Abi (17), Ali (17), and Willie (13); and 2 godly parents, Jim and Elizabeth. Abi is a beautiful, graceful ice skater and loves to read every book she can get her hands on; Ali is an excellent basketball player and an amazing writer; Willie is a star baseball player (catcher), and loves Legos and making people laugh.
How long have you been riding horses? Over 10 years – since I was 9.
Who was your first horse? “Sadie”, a solid chestnut paint horse mare.
Tell us about your first horse and maybe a little what he/she taught you. My first reining horse, Shasta, taught me more than any other horse. She was a difficult horse for me to ride at times because she was so high strung and usually had a mind of her own, but she allowed me to “grind my gears” a little bit. I learned the fundamentals of reining more than most riders because I had to work hard to learn and maintain my riding. Most youth I competed with were given very expensive, well refined horses, and as a result didn’t need to put in much work to show – and win. However, Shasta needed to be trained as much as I did. In return for the hard work I put in, we won many shows together, even rising above the expensive “auto-pilot” horses at times. Because I didn’t just “expect to win” and because I had to learn responsibility, hard work, and sportsmanship, I was even more grateful for the chance to compete and for the shows I won.
What equestrian sports have you done in the past? My primary sport is Reining (I have done for 6 years), but in the past I have also competed in some Gymkhana (barrel racing, pole bending), a little bit of English (hunt seat equitation, hunter under saddle), and all-around Western (western pleasure, western horsemanship, and trail riding).
What is your favorite equestrian sport? Reining!!
What is your favorite thing about reining? Sliding stops!
Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge that has helped you get started with or taught you a lot about horses? My parents, also my biggest supporters, have helped me a lot with all my horse shows and my dad has taught me a lot about horses. Without my parents I never could have succeeded as a competitor, or even been able to show horses. I am so grateful and can’t thank them enough.
What is your favorite type of horse and why? Paint horses – because I have ridden them my whole riding career, and their patterns and colors are so unique and pretty to look at.
What do you think the most unique part of the horse is? For some horses, it’s the markings, and for others, it’s their build (tall, short, stocky, lean, etc.); but the most unique thing for each horse is their personality. My horse, Nugget, has such a funny personality: very mischievous, stubborn at times, and friendly.
What do horses teach you about being a Christian and how can you apply those lessons to your Christian walk? Riding horses has taught me a lot about how to relate to people and how to be a hard-working, responsible person. It has also taught me perseverance, honesty, and how to “swim upstream”. Most of the people I show with are not Christians, and I am constantly under pressure to be like the world. I am thankful for my family’s support and for Jesus leading my life because without them I would probably be like the world.
How do you glorify Jesus through your riding? Other than the fact that I strived to live to honor Jesus (dress, attitude, priorities, etc…): I prayed before each competition and dedicated each ride to Jesus, and gave Him the glory whether I won or lost. Although I didn’t always do a very good job doing this, these were my goals and I for the most part lived up to them. I was also interviewed a few times for my successes and I was sure to give God the glory first.
How are you preparing for life and what skills are you developing to serve the Lord? I am currently a sophomore at CCU where I am developing life skills and learning many new things that will aid me in my choices later on. Also, I am active in ministry opportunities, especially Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan’s Purse).
What is a (and why) favorite scripture(s) you would like to share with our readers before we end this interview? Choosing a favorite Scripture is like choosing a favorite dessert, but one that has stood out to me over the years is Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Because I actually ride and compete on horses, this verse means something different to me than it would to most people. When I am tempted to let others’ opinions of me define who I am, whether that be by how I ride in the show arena, by what I wear, or by anything else, this verse helps me remember that I trust in Jesus alone, and His love for me is all that matters.