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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – “It’s okay,” Ashlyn Hayworth said as she smoothed the mane on her horse in a Euless horse barn. “You’re okay.”

A graduating high school student, Hayworth wants to ride horses professionally. In fact, Hayworth finished her last semester of high school in the horse barn in the shadow of her horse. And Tuesday, Hayworth is met her teacher for the first time.

“Hello!” Hayworth exclaimed as she walked out of the stall to embrace her teacher, Kiley Brown, who came to see her.

“Hey, how are you?” Brown responded as she returned the hug. “Is this your baby?” Brown asked, patting the horse on the head.

Hayworth is one of the first graduates of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s online school, iUniversity Prep. Up until now, Hayworth had only seen her teacher on a computer. All the same courses other students take are taught by online instructors which means online students aren’t saddled by the schedules of normal schools.

“I can learn more and progress in this while still being in school,” Hayworth explained to Brown. “I mean, when I do go to brick and mortar school you have to sit in a desk all day. You come out here and you’re tired and you’re hungry and you don’t have time — you still have homework to do.”

“We can make our schedule along with the students and make sure we’re able to do tutoring when it’s convenient for them,” Brown said. “It’s been a blast getting to know the kids online and see their skills.”

Thanks to her extra time in the barn, Hayworth is in line to be one of a handful of riders representing Texas in an international competition.

“It’s not necessarily a glorious career,” Hayworth said of her career plan of riding competitively. “There’s not a lot of money in it, It’s a lot of work. But I would love to be able to work with horses and train with horses and train with horses and compete for the rest of my life.”

“It warms my heart to see kids chasing their dreams and achieving the goals they set for themselves,” Brown said. “They’re driven and they are happy. I love to see that.”

The online school is offered to students from fifth to twelfth grade and is free to Texas residents.

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