By Caroline Lindstrom
The No. 8 Baylor equestrian team kicks off the Big 12 Championships today at the Willis Family Equestrian Center in Waco, Texas.
“We have been practicing a lot longer and putting in extra time, not practicing until we get it right, but practicing until there aren’t any mistakes,” junior Samantha Schaefer said.
All four of the Big 12 teams competing are entering the meet with a 3-3 record, with wins at home and losses on the road.
“The winner of this meet is the team who could make it all meet and peak at the right time,” head coach Ellen White said.
White said it is important for each rider to know the value of getting their point since the competition is neck-and-neck. She said if the team rides to the best of its ability, the goal of Big 12 Champions is not far fetched.
“Its fun to meet with all the Big 12 schools, so I am excited with all the heightened pressure and anything involving a championship meet just gets bigger,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said even though some riders will compete on opponent’s horses, it is still an advantage to have the meet in Waco. The Bears have the advantage of no travel time, which can be spent in last minute practices.
“This meet is different from other meets, in that we have four judges instead of two, so we will average those scores together,” White said.
White said the Big 12 Championship meet will differ from previous years for a couple reasons. Each of the four schools competing were allowed to pick a judge, rather than leaving the task to the home team. TCU, K-State and OSU will also travel with some of their horses to even the playing field with Baylor.
“Now that all schools are exactly equal, we are ready to showoff because we are physically and mentally prepared as well as the horses,” Freshman Savannah Jenkins said.