Oct. 15, 2013
In this "Senior Moment," get to know western rider Stephanie Rucci. The All-American from Alpharetta, Ga., has recorded 25 wins over the past three years in horsemanship. She has been a part of two overall national championships during her time at Auburn.
When did you start riding and how did you get into it?
The first time I actually rode a horse was at a pumpkin patch when I was 8, but I didn't actually start taking lessons until I was about 10 and that's when I got my first horse. I stuck with open, local shows until I was 16 and then after that I started seriously competing.
What do you want to do after you graduate?
I've always wanted to go to graduate school so I think I'm going to grad school for either IO psychology or clinical psychology.
Is there any particular horse, past or present, that you could call your favorite?
I like Tyler, the new horse, and Money is also one of my favorites. One of my old favorites who nobody else likes is Hickory. But, he is hurt now and can't do much.
What are you looking forward to most this season?
Coming back as National Champions, if we could repeat it again and give me an excuse to come back and go back on the field and get another ring would be awesome. Besides that it's just so great to spend time with all of the girls. I've made so many good friends that will probably last forever.
How do you prepare for a meet?
Last meet, my roommate and I went and got ice cream, and we both ended up getting MOP's so we think it works. But really the whole week of practice we just have a set routine that we stick to.
What is your favorite thing about Auburn?
As cheesy as it sounds, I love the people here. It's so different from my high school. Everyone is just so friendly here and it really is the Auburn Family.
What is your favorite riding memory?
At Nationals my sophomore year, I had a horse from Kansas State and I got a standing ovation for holding on because the horse just took off. I was using the walls to try to steer it because I was just totally out of control. It was crazy.
Do you have any plans for riding after college?
I don't think so, my horse is being leased right now so I'm not actually showing and since I plan on going to grad school I just don't think I will have time. I would like to still continue to ride, I just don't know if I'll have time to show.
What do you miss most about home?
I really miss my horse and sister. And also my trainer; I spent so much time with her she was like a second mom to me.
Who has the biggest influence on your riding?
That's hard. It would probably be a tie between my trainer and my parents. My parents were all for it and really supportive and let me do what I wanted with it. My trainer was the one who really helped me overcome all of my obstacles and get really into it.