Caroline Shapely | Echo
Imagine practicing riding the same horse for hours and days at a time, learning the habits and skills of the horse for competition day. yet when it's time for competition, none of your training matters because you are assigned to a horse at random. A game of skill and passion with a little bit of gamble is exactly what the Taylor University equestrian team is all about.
The Taylor equestrian team is made up of riders of all different experience levels. One thing they have in common? A love for horses and riding.
Averaging about 10 members per year, the group is tight-knit and makes it a priority to incorporate team bonding into their competition weekends.
A competition weekend is a huge event. A competition is usually two separate show, both Saturday and Sunday, but grouped together into one weekend because of all of the travel and preparation that goes into the events.
A competition can be a busy, chaotic and whirlwind event. Senior Caroline Potter, the crazy nature of the intense sport during her first year with Taylor's equestrian team. It was a lot of travel, running around, cleaning and preparation for the experience.
Once at a competition, each rider is assigned to a random horse out of a grouping of every horse that traveled. Based on the practice and skill level of the horse, this can either be a huge setback or make for a better day of competing.
For new members this year, Potter walked through step-by-step what the competition weekend would be like. She did not shy away from expressing how crazy and tiring a weekend of competing would really be.
Now, as president of the team, she has found a love for the chaos of competition.
"It's a crazy time and it's difficult, but it is so good," Potter said. "It can be very overwhelming and I completely recognize that. My first year I was like, 'This is not how horse showing works.'"