By Alexa Brackin
From clinking spurs to pounding hooves, the Baylor equestrian team will be in full force this weekend as it travels to take on Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
“It will be a very full weekend of travel and running around,” head coach Ellen White said. “It is going to be a great time for the girls to get to know each other. One big road trip.”
The competitions this weekend will mark the team’s first Big 12 events of the season.
“This will be an exciting weekend because it’s our first Big 12 matchup and our first travel series,” said sophomore Kate Riddle who competes in hunter seat. “Both schools have strong teams, especially OSU, but we have a strong team this year and a competitive group of girls.”
At Kansas State, the team will be showing five riders and have one exhibition in each event. The events consist of fences, flat, horsemanship and reining.
At Oklahoma State, there will be six riders showing with one exhibition in each category.
White said the rosters for each day will not be the same.
When it comes to choosing who rides, White said, “As you are really practicing great, we will fit you in, but when you’re in and showing really good, we don’t bump you out unless someone better comes along.”
Since the team is competing on the road, the women have to ride the home team’s horses.
Upon arriving, the women who are competing are assigned a horse for the event and only get four minutes to practice and get to know the horse.
Reining and jumping are afforded exceptions; the reiners get five minutes, and the jumpers get an additional four fences.
“We don’t know their horses because we are the visiting team,” Riddle said. “That poses a challenge for all of us because we have four minutes to get a good feel of our ride, but that’s the exciting part.”
A test bank of patterns for the flat and reining competitions are provided to the team ahead of time, giving the riders time to work on them.
“I am excited for this pattern because I’ve never done it before,” said freshman Katie Abbot who competes in reining. “It’s a pattern where you have to have the horse’s attention the whole time. It’s a good pattern to show too. However, it is a little long.”
They are also provided with the exact dimensions of the arena they will be working in.
“We bump up pattern practice and flat work,” White said. “During the events, the movement comes so fast to them you have to be set in that arena. They are learning fast.”
The matchups with Oklahoma State and Kansas State are what White refers to as “old-time rivals.”
“OSU and KSU will not be easy wins at all,” White said. “If we win those, it will be because we really rode our best.”