By Heather Graves
DE PERE – For any senior in high school, the last day of school is a milestone worth celebrating.
An 18-year-old De Pere student chose to celebrate his last day of high school by fulfilling a long-held ambition – riding to school on horseback.
High school senior Mason Albers, who works as a stable hand at a local farm, said he set out to make riding Jellybean – a 13-year-old registered Haflinger – to school on his last day a personal goal for himself as a reward for hunkering down and finishing out high school strong.
“Horses have been my motivation to do almost everything in my life, but it was for my grandma who passed away last December,” he said. “I did everything in the second semester for her and I know she is looking down just laughing. She sadly can’t join me for graduation, so I brought grandma in spirit to her own little ‘graduation.’”
Albers said since all of his assignments were completed the day before, he decided to make his last “official” day fun.
Athough he didn’t exactly attend classes on Tuesday, the ride to school on his trusty friend Jellybean was, for him, more symbolic.
“The reason I rode my horse to school is not only because I’ve never heard of someone riding a horse in De Pere, but also for the pure enjoyment of kids’ reactions for the ones that don’t get to see a horse every day,” he said.
Albers said he definitely turned heads on his trot to and from school, and received tons of positive reactions.
“The reactions I got were nothing but smiles or points saying, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a horse,’” he said. “All good things from my point of view. When I left school a few families stopped and asked if they could get my picture with Jellybean, and I happily obliged.”
Albers said while school officials weren’t exactly keen on the idea, he let the rules work in his favor.
“When the principal stopped me and told me that there’s no way a horse could ever come to school, I did my research,” he said. “I found out that it is completely legal to ride your horse to school if it’s your only means of transportation. I currently don’t possess a driver’s license so what I did was completely legal.”
Albers said in the end it was all for fun.
“Bringing Jellybean to school not only gave me happiness, but the plan also helped motivate me to achieve the goal of graduating high school,” he said.
A love for horses
Albers said he has always had a passion for horses.
“I’ve been riding horses my whole life, before I could walk I was on the back of a horse,” he said. “My first word as an infant was horse. Horses mean absolutely everything to me and I love their loving personality and their dedication to you if you give them your all. They really are God’s greatest creatures.”
Now that he’s donned his cap and gown and crossed the graduation stage, Albers said though he isn’t completely sure what the future holds, horses will likely be a part of it.
“This summer I’m going to continue working as a stable hand, and hopefully either open up my own training facility over the summer into the winter and continue to grow my business, or I possibly might be moving to Kentucky in the fall, depending on how things go,” he said.