By: Christopher Walsh
The Sacred Heart University women’s equestrian team is wrapping up their 2017-2018 season with many goals still in mind. On March 17 the Pioneers were represented by seven women to the Western Semifinals at Black Hawk College in Galva, Ill.
“It was a really cool experience. It was cool to go to Illinois and Chicago and travel with the team. You kind of to get closer with them,” said senior Devon Conley.
With the season coming to a close the team still has a few events that they have their sights set on. Hunt Seat Regionals were on March 31 at Connecticut College followed by Hunt Seat Zones at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. on April 7. The Intercollegiate Horse Show Nationals will take place May 3-6 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
Senior Cecelia Mathon is looking forward to the upcoming competitions.
“For the rest of the season, the team really hopes to qualify for nationals,” said Mathon.
Equestrian is a very physical sport, which requires careful training, preparation, and it is defined by the ability to work with horses who are, in effect, the teammates of those who are riding them.
Senior Kassandra Bayles tries her best outside of scheduled training to stay in shape.
“I go to the gym five times a week, so I try to keep my physique up. At lessons, I’m zoned in, and I try to not think about anything else,” said Bayles.
Sacred Heart does not have an on-campus facility for the equestrian team, so they have to train and compete off campus.
“We practice about three times a week on our horses at Rolling M Ranch in Southbury, Conn. The drive to our farm is pretty far, but the farm is also the best place to practice at,” said Mathon.
Mathon reflected on her four years at Sacred Heart along with her four years on the team.
“They were the best four years of my life. This team gave me so much, and so many memories,” said Mathon.
Conley described the importance of the equestrian team and her teammates on her college experience at Sacred Heart.
“This year especially, everyone is super close and I know that I can go to them for anything that I need. I can always call them up and ask them for any favors,” said Conley.
Mathon, Bayles, and Conley are all seniors, and with graduation quickly approaching, their future occupations and post-graduation plans are on their minds.
Mathon is a nursing major, Bayles is a marketing major, and Conley is a business major. Each of them hopes to find jobs in their respected fields post-graduation.
“I think I would have a completely different experience at college if I wasn’t on the team,” said Conley.