April 6, 2012
By Anthony Alfano, Auburn Media Relations
When did you start riding horses?
“When I was 7 years old back in 1997, so that would be 14 years. I owned horses when I was in high school, but I sold them so I could come to Auburn and ride the horses here.”
Who is your favorite horse at the Auburn University Horse Center?
“I really like May and Tee.”
What athlete did you admire growing up?
“Rudy Ruettiger has always been my inspiration. I loved the movie, and I really like how hard he works, and how he never gave up. Every time I get down I say ‘No, I’m not giving up because Rudy didn’t, so I can’t.’”
What do you enjoy most about your sport?
“My teammates. They’re awesome, and I enjoy being with them. They’ve pushed me to be a better person, better rider, and I learned a lot from being with them. It’s fun being around people who enjoy doing what you enjoy doing.”
When you aren’t riding horses, what are you doing?
“I love cooking and baking. I love making cheesecake, but pasta is my favorite food of all. I also like to run marathons. I’m currently training for my first half Ironman, so that’s been pretty time consuming. Overall, either eating or exercising.”
Is there any particular teammate that has been a mentor to you and helped you in your college and equestrian career?
“My freshman year Kylie Miller was a senior that year, and really took me under her wing, and taught me a lot, because I was really stressed out. I was afraid I wasn’t doing a good job, and the coaches didn’t like me. None of it was true. Kylie coached me and helped me to show me how to use my time well. She gave me riding tips and drove me around a lot. She was really a big help, and I really don’t think I’d be here today without her.”
What do you love most about horses?
“I love the fact that they’re honest, and they never lie. They have such awesome personalities, and they don’t tell your secrets too, so that’s nice.”
What are your personal goals for your equestrian career at Auburn?
“When I came on the team, I hadn’t really shown a lot, and I didn’t have a big name, so I was honored just to have a spot on the team. My personal goals were just to be able to ride a lot for the team and to be competing successfully. I’ve been able to compete for the team, so my goal was to be able to compete, and I’ve done that, so I’m excited that I’ve done that.”
What do you love most about Western?
“It’s really fun, and it’s challenging. I like the fact that it doesn’t matter as much how you look, but what you do. It’s just a lot of fun.”
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
“I would love to be able to fly. That would be really fun.”
It says in your biography that your favorite Auburn moment is when Coach Williams had water dumped on him at the National Championship celebration. Can you tell me a little about that?
“A lot of the girls knew and had planned to get the Gatorade cooler and take it in with us into the celebration. I did not know, and I was out of the loop. I had no idea, and when we were getting out awards, I saw two of my teammates walk away from the group, and I was really confused because we were still getting our awards. I was about to yell after them and say ‘Wait we need pictures,’ but then I saw the grin on Lindsay Portela’s face, and I just knew whatever she was doing I didn’t need to stop her.
“I just watched, and she went around the corner and grabbed the water cooler and came back. One of the directors of the championship was distracting Coach Williams because he was in on it. He was talking to Coach Williams, and they ran up behind Coach Williams and dumped it on him. I was in front of Coach Williams, so I could see his face and the surprise, and honestly the enjoyment on his face was priceless. Coach Williams had no idea it was coming. It was awesome.”
What is your favorite Auburn tradition?
“When the drum major marches onto the field and throws the baton into the ground (at football games). The student section cheers, and that’s my favorite part because I feel like it’s very purely Auburn. We come out and we say, ‘This is our field,’ and we’re dominant. I really like that.”
How has the coaching staff improved your riding?
“They’ve improved my entire life, not just my riding. As far as specifically my riding, we do a lot of video reviews where we’ll be tapped while we’re riding. We’ll watch it, and we’ll listen to the coaches’ comments. That’s really helpful because a lot of times the coaches will tell you a lot of great stuff, but it’s hard for you to understand what they’re saying because you can’t see it. With the video reviews and the coaching at the same time, we really see what exactly they’re talking about. They’ve helped me learn how to work harder, how to be a better student and how to be a better person.”
What are your career aspirations after school?
“I want to be an elementary school teacher. I would really like to move over to Germany and work on a military base there. Right now my favorite grade to teach is second grade because they’re just adorable.”