Fayette County

Busy schedule doesn't keep Teen equestrian from helping others

Daniela Stransky Secchi gets to travel the world competing in equestrian jumping.

The 13-year-old typically has an intense schedule that includes riding six days a week, at least four hours a day, sometimes more.

Daniela, who has been riding since she was 4, has competed in horse-jumping competitions in Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela and Germany. She will be at the Kentucky Horse Park until Sunday.

Despite her demanding schedule, Daniela says she still manages to carve out time in her schedule to give back.

Daniela works with several other organizations, including the Just World International, a program that works with equestrian athletes to provide care for impoverished children, and the Step by Step Foundation, an organization run by her mother, Liliane Stransky.

Half of Daniela's winnings are given to Just World International. She donated about $8,000 last year.

In September, Daniela will accompany her mother to Lahaie, Haiti, for a week to hand out school supplies to the children there. She will also help distribute LifeStraws, small tubes that instantly purify water, allowing children to drink safely, even from puddles.

Aside from riding, Daniela said, playing poker is the only other hobby she really has time for. Her mother, who came from Miami on Thursday to join Daniela at the Horse Park, said the poker chips were the first thing she packed.

"She is very, very good; she has a very good poker face," Stransky said.

Kim Rodgers