By: Nicole Dienst ’18
The long drives to tournaments and nights in hotels with teammates are all applicable to club sports, and for equestrian, it is just competitive and time consuming. Dimitra Ippolito ’18 Donovan Ross ’18 and Alexa Stiegler ’19 all ride at a very high level when they travel to Florida for the weekends in winter. Lexy Barlow ’18 also rides and has a job where she rides horses, earning an income while participating in her passion. “Riding is a huge part of my life… It’s my sport, my means of employment, and what I enjoy to do in my free time,” Barlow ’18 said.
All four have considered riding in college even though there are only 19 equestrian programs at the division one level. Auburn University, Baylor University, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M amongst the most competitive. “I think people often forget that others do sports outside of the high school, riding is a very unique sport that some of my friends have grown attached to,” Julian Ross ’17 said. College level riding is not common, but it is just as prestigious as any other varsity sport. “It goes underlooked because it is not a Staples sport, many people find it weird when I tell them I could commit to a D1 college for riding,” Donovan Ross ’18 added.
Riding, similarly to any other sports, requires constant training and a large time commitment, “I’ve been riding since I was three years old… I’ve been to many horse shows, probably over 300 or 400,” Alexa Stiegler ’19 said. Especially if you are planning on riding in college, extra work and an extra time commitment is required, “You have to ride six days a week. I could be at the barn for at least two hours every day,” Dimitra Ippolito ’18 said.
To these four girls, a horse is a man’s best friend. “If you’re around them 24/7, you’ll never want to leave them. They feel everything you feel,” Alexa Stiegler commented about her horse. Continuation of her riding career at Southern Methodist University has been a dream come true for Carly Crossfield ’16, “It was hard to see everyone with Staples apparel representing their school and knowing I can’t do the same through my sport… I get to represent my college now and be on a tram so it was definitely all worth it in the end, and I got where I wanted to go,” Crossfield ’16 said.