K-State equestrian head coach Casie Maxwell said she believes her team is in a good place.
The Wildcats will be put to the test this Saturday as they travel to Brookings, South Dakota to face South Dakota State in their first meet of the season.
One of the biggest aspects Maxwell said she hopes to improve upon from last season is performance on the road.
“It will be a good test for us to start out on the road at South Dakota and try and carry our confidence from home to our road meets,” Maxwell said.
Last season, K-State was undefeated at home. The Wildcats finished 9-9 overall.
The Purple-White scrimmage held on Sept. 20 provided an opportunity for riders to test themselves and compete head-to-head.
“We’ve paid attention to those errors we made in the scrimmage,” Maxwell said. “We have really been trying to focus on those and minimize those in practice.”
Going on the road creates the challenge of competing in unfamiliar territory, according to Maxwell. Riders will be working with unfamiliar horses in an unfamiliar environment.
Danielle Kemper, senior in western, said not knowing the horses is one of the biggest challenges of being on the road. She added that although challenging, riding an unfamiliar horse can also be advantageous.
“We’re put on different horses all the time here,” Kemper said.
Kara Guy, senior in western, agreed that the unfamiliar horses can be both challenging and helpful on the road.
“You don’t overthink what you’re doing,” Guy said. “If you just ride through it, you can be really good.”
Overall, Maxwell said the team is in good shape and that her main goal for this season will be developing good people and lifelong relationships. She wants the team to get the most they can out of the experience.
Kemper also said she believes the group is well on its way to building a strong relationship and that the team has bonded well this year.
“I feel like we’ve been closer than ever,” Kemper said. “We can really use that to our advantage.”