Other Riding Tips

Horseback Riding in College: Tips from Kendall Cox

Kendall-Cox-Equestrian
mm
Written by Kendall Cox

College Team: University of Findlay (Learn More)
State: Ohio
Year in College: Senior
Joined Team: 2017
Riding Discipline(s): Dressage

About Kendall: I am from St. Louis, Missouri. I am majoring in English Equestrian Studies at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. I am a senior in the Equine Program and enjoy being a part of my Intercollegiate Dressage Team. My hobbies outside of riding include playing the saxophone, and I love to travel. I spend most of my time at the barn, but I also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and paddle boarding, and I enjoy going to the gym.

Collegiate Equestrian Interview

Q: What was your pre-college horse experience?

Kendall-Cox-HaltI began riding at the age of five, and I originally competed in Saddlebred shows. After competing for 12 years in that division, I decided to try something new and switch to dressage.

In the winter of 2017, I had the privilege of attending a three month dressage clinic in Wellington, Florida, Winter Intensive Training Program, where I learned a lot about the sport and competitions.

Q: What were equestrian team tryouts like?

My first tryouts at the University of Findlay took place in the fall of 2017. In these tryouts, I was given three different horses to ride, and I had to walk, trot, canter, and leg yield on each of these horses with the IDA Head Coach and IDA Assistant Coach watching and assessing.

It was a bit intimidating with everyone watching, but I enjoyed my three horses very much and I was excited to have the opportunity to ride these wonderful horses.

Q: Describe a typical week on the team.

Kendall-Cox-PassageSince I am majoring in Equestrian Studies, I am required to be at the barn 6 days a week. As a Senior, I am required to be at the barn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., although I often find myself at the barn much longer.

I am assigned three horses that I must take care of every day, including stall cleaning, cleaning buckets, and riding. With each of these horses, I have a lesson each day with my instructor, Nicole Thungen.

IDA team practices occur once a week or every other week. As IDA Secretary, I help to plan these practices. I have the advantage over some students because I ride three horses each day, helping me to gain even more practice time.

Q: What type of riding did you choose and why?

I compete in Dressage. I chose this discipline as it requires me to think critically about my riding and how to improve every step. I thrive on being challenged, and the perfection that is required in each step of riding intrigues and inspires me.

horse rookie guide to jumping

Q: What are some challenges of balancing academic and equestrian responsibilities?

With classes, it is hard to balance barn and study time. I would always rather be riding, so leaving the barn to study for classes that do not pertain to my intended major is not always the easiest or the most fun.  

It is also difficult to schedule classes around my time at the barn, and I often find myself traveling back and forth from the barn to campus multiple times a day.  

Q: What’s one “rookie mistake” you made?

A horse-related rookie mistake that I have made includes my first experience handling a stallion. When I was 10 years old, we got a new stallion at our barn, and I underestimated how to handle a young stallion, and I led him out of his stall without a chain. Although I did not get injured, I was not in control of him, and had he decided to run, I would not have been able to handle him.  

My advice for everyone in the equine industry is to make sure to always take precautions to ensure your utmost safety.  

Q: What have horses taught you?

Kendall-Cox-FlowersHorses have taught me so much more than just riding skills. They have taught me patience, love, joy, failure, and frustration.

Horses taught me never to give up, because often, our greatest moments come after our hardest battles. I have learned that taking my time is faster in many cases, as losing my temper reverses the progress that I have made in training my horses.

The main thing that I have learned from horses is to follow my heart and my dreams. I have always dreamed of being an international trainer, and I will not give up until this dream is achieved. They have taught me the feeling of passion and love, and I will be forever grateful to every horse that has helped to shape me into who I am today as a trainer and as a person.

Q: If you could travel back in time to your first day on the team and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

If I could travel back to my first day on the team and give myself advice, I would tell myself to enjoy the moment and not to get caught up in the drama. Often times, we lose sight of the blessing or challenge right in front of us because we are so focused on those around us.

Q: Why should students join a college equestrian team?

Not only do college equestrian teams help us to become better riders, but they also connect us with lifelong friends. Students should join an equestrian team because it unites people of the same age with similar interests, and gives us the opportunity to grow and become better riders together.

horse rookie guide to jumping

Q: What’s one piece of gear you can’t live without?

You can even buy argyle polo wraps!

I cannot live without my many sets of polo wraps, because I like to have a different color every other day. I love the look of polo wraps and I think that they offer great protection for my horses, and I also enjoy being able to change it up throughout the week with many types and colors of polos!

Q: Who is your favorite horse to ride and why?

My favorite horse to ride is named Rhett Butler. He is a new addition to our dressage program, and I enjoy working with him because he teaches me so much and he has a personality that sets him apart from the crowd.

About the Team Shop Horse Rookie Riding Essentials Meet More Students

Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:

Love it? Share it!

About the author

mm

Kendall Cox

I am from St. Louis, Missouri. I am majoring in English Equestrian Studies at the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. I am a senior in the Equine Program and enjoy being a part of my Intercollegiate Dressage Team. My hobbies outside of riding include playing the saxophone, and I love to travel. I spend most of my time at the barn, but I also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and paddle boarding, and I enjoy going to the gym.