Ava Vogel has found herself in the pages of a popular series for a quirky talent.
“I gallop and hurdle over obstacles on all four legs and try to mimic a horse as best as I can,” Vogel explained.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not scouted Vogel for its newest book, after finding her on social media.
The 17-year-old began jumping in 2012, after seeing other girls practicing the craft on Instagram.
“Over the years, I realized I was pretty good at it and I could jump pretty high,” Vogel said.
At her peak, she could jump nearly four feet in the air (Vogel has never injured herself beyond sprains while jumping). Her videos grew popular and she quickly became the face of the trend.
“I’ve been around the community for a few years. I wouldn’t say I’m the most talented out of all of them, but I am pretty proud of the accomplishments I’ve made. I’ve been on Buzzfeed, Fox News. I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve made it with this weird talent.”
Vogel is the first to admit it’s a bit of an unconventional pastime.
“It is a very unique and strange hobby,” she laughed. “Some people kind of think it’s weird, which I completely understand.”
But the teen said people are often a bit quick to jump to conclusions about her.
“I think people should learn to have an open mindset toward new things like this. I want people not to be afraid to express themselves or show the world that you’re unique.”
“Being able to post myself on the internet doing a weird hobby with my name and my face out there… it’s really shown me it’s okay to be different.”
The skill has also connected the teen with other “jumpers.” Vogel has friends in Edmonton who would jump with her, as well as online friends as far away as Europe.
Sabrina Sieck of Ripley’s said the team loves to celebrate extraordinary people like Vogel.
“Everyone has their quirks. Everyone has something strange they embrace. The people we work with really just want to share that. It lets other people feel a lot more comfortable with their own weird side,” Sieck said.
Vogel’s hobby has also helped her find a career path, after spending hours studying the human body’s movements to perfect her technique.
“It’s given me a love for exercise and movement. I started to get interested in kinesiology and biomechanics. I hope to pursue that in my career.”
For Vogel, there’s no better feeling than walking—or trotting—your own path.
“I’m different and I’m okay to express myself.”