Same saddle, new perspective: Rider overcomes adversity to continue her passion

Andi Pratt overcomes her seizures and continues to pursue her passion. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics.

By George Schroeder | LTVN Executive Producer

Baylor equestrian senior rider Andie Pratt has dealt with overbearing adversity, but it was nothing she said couldn’t overcome.

“I’m hard-headed, so I just kind of looked at it, and I was like, I’m going to get over it,” Pratt said. “There’s not really another option.”

Pratt acquired her first horse when she was four years old and since then has become a highly decorated rider that overcame a potential career-ending condition.

Pratt, the 2022 NCEA Co-Reining Rider of the Year and All-American, has been riding for 17 years, but along the way, she encountered a pivotal moment that could have kept her out of the saddle.

“I had two seizures my freshman year, and I wasn’t 100% sure how I’d be able to push through it and continue [being] on the team,” Pratt said. “I don’t think many athletes are just ready to give up in the face of anything.”

Seizures had the potential to end her riding career along with her ability to do simple things like driving. However, she said she “just wasn’t ready to give up.”

After working with the team’s doctor as well as her neurologist back home in Paragould, Ark., Pratt was able to find the right combination of medications to overcome her seizures and safely get back on the same saddle with a new perspective.

“I take the smaller things a lot more serious,” Pratt said. “I’m grateful that I can ride, I’m grateful that I can drive a car and go to practice each day. I feel really blessed to be where I am.”

Head coach Casie Maxwell said Pratt displays resilience in and out of the sport.

“She has an amazing work ethic; I think she leads by example, in the classroom, in the arena and every space in between,” Maxwell said. “She doesn’t let the losses get her down. She doesn’t let it set her back, and she learns from every situation.”

It’s common for new riders to start by riding in conservative fashion, but Maxwell said Pratt found a spark last year, becoming more of a risk-taker to her own benefit.

“That’s why you see her record be so good from last season,” Maxwell said. “You know you’re not going to win your point if you’re not out there trying to take a risk.”

Risks paved the way for Pratt’s return, but she said it’s not about the accolades and awards; It’s simply what she enjoys.

“I’m constantly on a horse anytime I can be,” Pratt said. “I really love the horses, I love riding and I love this team and the atmosphere that we have.”

The Equestrian team has yet to ramp up its season, but it will get a small taste on Friday at noon in its Green and Gold scrimmage at the Willis Family Equestrian Center. After this, the group is only 15 days away from its first of three road matchups.

Maxwell said it’s too early to give a projection but that the team is excited to get back on the horses.

“We’re going to start really tough on the road for the first three meets against SEC and Big 12 schools,” Maxwell said. “It’s definitely a tough start, but I think it’s a great test for our team to really kind of gauge what we need to do throughout the rest of the season.”

George Schroeder is a senior at Baylor University majoring in journalism. Currently the only student on his 4th year with the Lariat, he is the executive producer for Lariat TV News, he has worked as the managing editor, a broadcast reporter and an anchor for the program. In 2022 he was named the Baylor Department of Student Media’s “Broadcaster of the Year” and the inaugural winner of the Rick Bradfield Award for Breaking News Coverage. During his time with the Lariat, he has served as a member of the Editorial Board, a sportswriter and an opinion writer. He is a contracted cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and will commission as an officer into the United States Air Force after graduation in 2024.