It has been quite a while since K-State equestrian has competed at its own facilities. But, for the first time in nearly three months, the Wildcats have finally returned to the friendly confines of Manhattan, and they have done so to take on the nation’s best.
K-State will welcome No. 1 Texas A&M to Timber Creek Stables for a one-day competition Saturday. The Aggies enter the duel as the only remaining undefeated squad in the country, while the Wildcats will look to end a four-match losing streak. The weekend action will mark K-State’s first home event since it hosted Oklahoma State on Nov. 5, and it is the Wildcats’ first competition of any kind since traveling to the Cowgirls’ facility on Jan. 29
“We’re especially getting back into the swing of hosting a competition,” head coach Casie Lisabeth said. “We’ve been off of that since Nov. 5. It takes a lot of extra effort to run the show, as well as compete in it. We’ve been tying up the loose ends this week and getting ready to ride our own horses and host the top-ranked team in the nation.”
In most sports, going nearly a month without live competition may lead to concerns about players being rusty, but Lisabeth said her riders have used the prolonged break to put their previous matches behind them and start focusing on fundamentals.
“(The break) has really given us the chance to break down back to basics, work on our foundation and build back up,” she said. “It’s been good to have the time off so we can do that. We’re not rushing between each competition, so that’s kind of what we’ve been working on. We’ll just keep working on our confidence and the foundation of our skills so we can apply them this weekend.”
K-State and Texas A&M squared off in the final match of the fall campaign, which the Aggies won by a score of 16-8. Though the final score may have been lopsided in favor of the opponent, Lisabeth said K-State gained some valuable experience in its first meeting with Texas A&M and she hopes the Wildcats will utilize that experience to the best of their abilities in Saturday’s rematch.
“We played well against (Texas A&M) in certain areas when we played at their facility on Nov. 19, so we got a little extra boost of confidence,” she said. “We know what we’re up against and we’re able to play them at home, so I think we’re a little better prepared than we were two months ago.”