This past weekend, K-State’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team traveled to Madison, Wisconsin to compete in zone finals. The recreational equestrian team was the competition’s underdog, as it was only established in August of 2014.
Yet they managed to come out on top.
“We had 29 girls compete throughout the season,” Hannah Seger, team founder and senior in animal science and industry, said. “It was very relaxed; you didn’t need to have experience riding.”
After competing all season, the team made it to Zones Finals where they blew away their rookie reputation. Hard work paid off as the women earned enough points to place them in second. Only the second and first place winners are eligible to compete at nationals on April 30 to May 3 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“There are 425 schools competing,” Seger said. “We made the top 16.”
Hayley Banister, sophomore in kinesiology, swept the competition in various classes at the event.
“I won the set of points that qualified us for nationals,” Banister said. “That was exciting.”
According to Banister, this past weekend’s competition was her best riding performance yet. Taylor Parker, team president and senior in animal science and industry, said the team went out there and did their best.
“We put our best riders out there and worked hard for our team,” Parker said. “All our work helped and we got the number two spot.”
Winning is not everything to these women, though it is a plus. The team said that although many of its members have competed in riding in the past, it was very different from past experiences.
“I like the team aspect of it,” Banister said. “If we don’t do that well, we have other members to help bring up the score.”
The idea of a team competing in what is typically an single-person event has been a great connection for the girls.
“Overall, riding a horse is an individual thing – (it’s) just you and the horse,” Helen Carter, freshman in animal science and industry, said. “A lot of us have competed for a long time, and getting to work together but do what we love is amazing.”
As nationals approaches, the team is working hard, growing together and working to support themselves through fundraising and accepting donations in order to make the competitions affordable.
“A lot of of it is out of pocket,” Carter said. “We do fundraise with some local companies, but it’s mostly us.”
K-State’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team currently has a GoFundMe account in order to help them raise money for nationals. In just three days, the team raised $1,325 out of their $6,500 goal.