It has been nearly a month since K-State equestrian has competed and the team bounced back in a big way with a 12-7 win over Oklahoma State in its first competition since announcement that the program would be disbanding.
The Wildcats owned in all events except Horsemanship and managed to capture three out of the four Most Outstanding Performer awards.
Equestrian team beat Oklahoma State University (OSU) Equestrian team 12-7. K-State won in all categories except for Horsemanship, where they lost 4-1. K-State riders also managed to capture three out of the four Most Outstanding Performer (MOP) awards.
According to sophomore Henley Adkins, the team has channeled the energy of the recent news into something positive.
“We have taken [the news], and just put it as motivation,” Adkins said.
Parents of the K-State riders also feel that the team has used the situation as extra drive to compete. Denise Kemper, mother of Paige and Danielle Kemper, believes that the news did not negatively affect the team’s performance in this meet.
“I’m not sure I could say it affected their performance, except for maybe motivating them right now,” Denise said. “They have been so positive and they have really banded together.”
Sophomore Taylor Schmidt also said that the news of the discontinued sport has increased the bond between teammates.
“I think it’s really only brought us together as a team,” Schmidt said. “It’s made us closer (and) it’s really pushed us to get those wins. I think it will continue through the rest of the season.”
K-State head coach Casie Maxwell said the break in between competition gave the team an opportunity to work on elements that they don’t normally work on.
“We just really went back to basics,” Maxwell said. “It was kind of nice to get back to basic fundamentals and not have to be in a time crunch to prepare for the next competition and go through the next patterns and tests. So that was really nice. We haven’t had the opportunity to do that in quite a while, to have that kind of time off. That was really good for the girls, good for the horses and their minds, since we’ve got to use them hosting so many shows.”
Junior Nicholle Hatton shared the enthusiasm for winning the meet and being back in competition after the long break.
“I think [the win] was awesome,” Hatton said. “I think having a month off really motivated us, especially because we didn’t do anything for a month, all we did was practice so we were itching and ready to get in that show pen again. It was a good feeling.”
In Equitation Over Fences, K-State won 3-2 with Schmidt earning the MOP for that category. This is Schmidt’s first MOP in the five meets that she has ridden in with K-State.
“It feels really good,” Schmidt said. “We’ve been working really hard and my horse, Spot, was very good for me today. So it felt really good to get that under my belt.”
In Equitation on the Flat, K-State had a clean sweep, winning 4-0. Adkins received MOP in this category with a score of 83. In Reining, they won with a score of 4-1. Hatton won the MOP in this category with a score of 69.5.
Throughout the competition, cheering from the crowd was encouraged over the loudspeaker and the team proceeded to cheer for each one of its teammates. The crowd would occasionally join in on the cheering.
“I was really impressed,” Hatton said.”I was really excited. We don’t get big crowds. Since it’s a Saturday and we’ve been doing a lot of community work with the schools and stuff, all those kids wanted to come out and all the parents are out here (too), so it was a lot of fun. It was good to see a big crowd.”