Feb. 3, 2012
By Anthony Alfano, Auburn Media Relations
What is it like being a freshman on the national champion Equestrian team?
"There are big shoes to fill, but I don't feel the pressure that much. Everyone is really supportive, and they want to go on and win. They also want us to develop as riders, and contribute in the long-term aspect of the team."
What does it mean to have a Congress championship?
"It's a horse show in Ohio that they have in October, and it's the biggest single breed horse show that they have, so it's a really big deal to win it. I'm from Ohio so I've gone to it every year since I can remember. This year I got the right horse, and we had a great year, but I wasn't expecting this big of a result. I now have a total of three Congress championships."
Tell me a little bit about your grandfather's family-owned cheese making business...
"My grandpa and his dad bought this overflow company. He has worked almost every position. He's really built it up and is very passionate about it. He's made Cheez-It cheese and Swiss cheese mostly."
What are your personal goals for your equestrian career at Auburn?
"I'd really love to win a national championship because I want to be a part of it too. I want us to get some more good riders and to continue to build up our team. Personally I want to win an All-American and just leave a good mark on the program."
When did you know equestrian was the sport for you?
"My brother gave me his pony, and that was a big deal to me. I've rode every horse I could ever get my hands on. I've rode since before I could walk, but I didn't know about equestrian until my junior year of high school. Once I found out I was excited about it."
What has been the biggest difference for you about riding at the college level?
What is your favorite Auburn tradition?
"There's a lot less pressure. You have four minutes to warm up, and then a two or three minute pattern. I don't know if it's easier because you don't know the horses at all, but I like it better. With my own horses that I've ridden for so long, I feel that I want to go out there and prove I can ride it. At the college level it is hit or miss. You can get a good horse, and get the right ride. If you don't, you just try again."
"I like when the eagle circles the stadium. It's really cool that we have a bird that we have trained to do that. It's fun to watch."
What is your dream job?
"Hopefully go and make cheese with my grandpa. I think it would be really fun because I know a lot about it. My grandpa and I are really close, and he has always taken pride in teaching me all of his tricks to making cheese. He loves to talk about it, so it would be really fun to join the family business."
How has Coach Williams improved your riding?
"He's been a confidence booster. He's always out there when you're getting ready to ride. He tries not to get in our way because he knows we're all here because we can ride. He is very positive and supports all of us. He gets us ready to ride."