Standout Student: Wayzata High School’s Ella Frake
We’re more than halfway through this school year unlike any other, and while some would describe it as “challenging,” Wayzata High School junior Ella Frake has a different take.
“It’s been quite nice,” Frake said. “I’ve had a lot more time to focus on school and also horseback riding and my research project.”
That’s right, she said she participates in horseback riding.
Frake earns good grades while spending around 35 hours a week with horses. It’s an activity she’s been doing since the age of five.
“I really like the communication between me and the horse,” she said. “It’s a whole ‘nother level. And it’s really nice because it feels like you’re having a whole conversation with them without really saying anything, and so when you achieve something it’s really great.”
It’s a rapport that takes time to develop, which is important in the world of equestrian. Ella has won multiple awards with her horse, “A Lucky Girl,” also known as Ashley.
A hobby turned research project
But recently, horseback riding has become more than a hobby.
“Roughly four years ago, my horse experienced level four ulcers in her stomach, and we had to completely change her feeding diet and everything she was consuming,” Frake said.
That incident made her want to learn more about why that happened. And through Wayzata’s Honors Mentor Connection class, she began a project centered around researching the feeding protocols for horses with equine metabolic syndrome.
“You need to create that custom diet,” Frake said. “You can’t just feed them this and think that it’s going to work for every horse that goes through your barn.”
Frake’s teachers rave about her focus and maturity.
“Anytime you see a student that has such a passion, I mean she just lights up when she starts to talk about her research, and just the fluency of relatively complex terms and ideas,” said Amy Swenson, an instructor with Wayzata’s Honors Mentor Connection. “And it’s just so connected back to the love that she has for her horse, and that’s really what sparked it all.”
That research could one day turn into a career in animal science. But in the meantime, Frake has the rest of the school year to worry about.
“My goals are to get my paper written and get the presentation set and present it the best I can,” Frake said.