FSU Equestrian Team Members: Holley, Ellen and Taylor

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Name: Ellen Waidner

Age: 21

Year: Junior

Major: Spanish, but I’m also Pre-Med because I enjoy many different subjects 

Hometown: Fleming Island, FL

Relationship Status: In a relationship with an alumnus from that school in Gainesville…

Courtesy: Ellen Waidner

Name: Taylor Crutchfield

Age: 19

Year: Junior

Major: International Affairs with a concentration in Public Administration

Hometown: Sebring, FL

Relationship Status: Single

Courtesy: Taylor Crutchfield

Name: Holley Nicholson

Age: 19

Year: Junior

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Crestview, FL

Relationship Status: Single

Courtesy: Holley Nicholson

Her Campus (HC): Tell us about what being a member of the FSU Equestrian Team involves.

Ellen Waidner (EW): The FSU Equestrian Team is a club sports team. We have competitive teams for four different riding disciplines: hunt seat, western, a dressage team, and eventing. However, if you just love horses but don’t want to compete, you can be a part of the club, too. Another fun fact is that you can join the equestrian club and learn, even if you have never ridden a horse before. You don’t have to have your own horse to compete with Florida State, as we ride horses at barns throughout the Tallahassee area. Members of the competitive teams take riding lessons once a week and compete against schools from across the state, such as UF, UCF, UNF and USF to name a few. During these competitions, each rider has to compete on a horse that they have never ridden before. All club members, regardless of if they compete, come together for meetings and social throughout the year. Holley, Taylor and I are all on the western team. Western is not the discipline where you jump over things. Instead, we do other cool things like spinning our horses really fast (it feels sort of like the tea cup ride!) and running really fast and then sliding to a stop (it’s like hydroplaning a car, but in a fun way!).

Taylor Crutchfield (TC): Western riding is a very practical discipline. It is used all over America and within the cattle industry, but what we do is not to be confused with rodeo. Our main focus is horsemanship, which is performing the best we can with our horses. Since horseshows require us to ride a horse we have never practiced on, we have to get the most out of our horses and look pretty while doing it. It’s not easy! It could be the difference of getting on a moped and getting in a 1965 F-100.

Courtesy: Ellen Waidner

HC: What has been your favorite memory with the FSU Equestrian Team?

TC: My favorite memory was my first horseshow with the team. I joined in spring of 2015. Since the first show was only two weeks ago, I only rode five times beforehand. The entire team was so supportive and I placed second in both of my classes.

Holley Nicholson (HN): The majority of my favorite memories that I have had since being at Florida State involve my teammates in some way. I would say that the last team lesson we had with the newest member of the team was probably one of my favorite. It was such a long lesson that our coach had us go on a trail ride in the middle of it as an intermission.

Courtesy: Taylor Crutchfield

HC: What’s a typical day like at a horseshow?

EW: The days are long, but they are worth it. We normally have to wake up around 6 a.m. to be at the show by around 7 a.m. Starbucks is always involved! We watch the horses warm up, which is very important since we compete on horses that the host school provides, without being able to practice. This is the only chance that we have to get an idea of what they are like before competing in the ring. Around 8:30 a.m., the captains from each team meet and we each draw horses for our teammates to ride at random. The competition begins around 9 a.m., and we have team members show in their respective divisions throughout the day until 4 or 5 p.m. When we aren’t showing, we are cheering and helping each other!

TC: We all have massive headaches at the end of the day from all of the bobby pins in our hair that keep our buns in and our hats on. Beauty is pain!

Courtesy: Holley Nicholsonshon

HC: What has this sport taught you?

EW: I could probably write an essay in response to this question, because it has taught me so much about life and myself. I think one of the most important skills I have learned is time management. I always had to balance horses and school. I’m a pro at doing homework in the car or on planes when I travel for horseshows. This sport teaches you a great deal about trust and responsibility. Horses are always dependent on you. After all, you don’t have to clean a soccer ball’s stall or make sure that it has water and hay after you are done with practice.

TC: Being an equestrian for most of my life, I now look back and realize how much trouble it has kept me out of. I was never the boy-crazed girl. I showed up to class in jeans and boots with hay as a nice accent piece. Horses take up so much time and you learn trust, respect and love in return. Horses have also taught me patience. They aren’t people; you can’t just tell them what you want and vice versa. Things don’t happen immediately. Responsibility is also a huge part of owning any animal.

HN: This should be an essay question! This sport has taught me more about who I am as a person that anything else. It teaches you responsibility and how to put something else’s needs before your own. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day because no matter what your horse comes first. My favorite thing about this sport though is that it teaches you that you get what you give. If you only put half your effort into riding your horse’s performance will directly reflect that, so as an equestrian you constantly try to give 100 percent all the time.

Courtesy: Holley Nicholson

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About The Author

Shelby Curran is a senior at Florida State University majoring in English with a concentration in Editing, Writing, and Media and minoring in Communications.