UBC grad Jessica Church balances dentistry with equestrian vaulting
If you asked your dentist what he or she did on the weekend to relax, you might expect a humdrum list of activities: a movie, a long walk in the park, dinner at a nice restaurant followed by flossing.
Not if your dentist is Jessica Church. The equestrian vaulter spends her downtime doing handstands, splits and somersaults on a horse that canters at a speed up to 26 kilometres an hour.
“When I vault it’s almost therapeutic,” says Church. “You get exercise, fresh air, and bond with an animal.”
Often described as gymnastics on horseback, competitive vaulting features as many as three athletes on horseback performing lifts and inversions, all while the horse runs in a circle.
Church took up vaulting six years ago and now coaches as well as competes. She says the physicality of the sport balances out the intense academic demands of dentistry. It’s also helped her develop her skills in her chosen field of pediatric dentistry.
“My coaching and communications skills come in handy when treating young patients,” she says.
And if you thought Church is the only dentist-vaulter out there, guess again. It turns out she’s in good company.
“The current and multi-time world champion female vaulter is a dentist,” says Church. “And another vaulter has just accepted her admission to UBC Dentistry and starts in the fall.”
Note to editors: Photos of Jessica Church are available for download here