"Senior Moment" with Piper Donnelly

Nov. 5, 2013

In this “Senior Moment” get to know Senior Hunt Seat rider Piper Donnelly. Since her time at Auburn, Donnelly has helped the team win 2 Hunt Seat and Two Overall National Championships.

Being an Ohio native, what made you choose to come to Auburn?
I knew somebody that went here from home and we were pretty close so I heard a lot of good things about it from her, and when I came on my visit here I just really liked it. It was so cool to see the friendships the girls had on the team and I wanted to be a part of that.

What are your plans for riding after you graduate?
Well, hopefully I get a really good job and can afford it myself, but the chances of that happening immediately are unfortunately a little low. My roommate, Christina, and I are planning to move to New York City so I don’t know if I will be able to afford to ride.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?
Just to work together as a team. We came together really well last year and I think we can do it again this year if we are strong and work hard as a whole team.

Who has the biggest influence on your riding?
Oh man! There’s a lot. One of the biggest people that have helped me a lot is Mindy Darst, I know her from back home. But she gave me a lot of opportunities that I would not have had without her. Another girl is a professional, but she is only a few years older than me. Her name is Sarah Mechlin. I was around her a lot when I was about 15 and she really made a big impression on me with how hard she worked.

Is there anything interesting about yourself that people might not know at first?
Sometimes people could think I come off a little shy, but once they get to know me they will find out I am the exact opposite. I’m actually pretty loud.

How did you get into riding?
My mom rode a little bit when she was younger. But for my 3rd birthday a little pony came to my party and we rode it around the parking lot. After that I kept saying “I want to ride horses! I want to ride horses” but my parents wouldn’t let me ride until I was 7. But, I was not looking back after that.

What is your proudest accomplishment as a rider?
Well something that I am really proud about is the fact that I never had my own horse, so I had to ride a lot of different horses which could sometimes be a challenge, but it was also really rewarding. I did Maclay in Washington and I also went to Harrisburg, so those are all pretty fun.

As a Communications major, what do you want to do after graduating?
That is still kind of up in the air right now. I really like writing so something with that would be really cool. I spent a lot of time at a marketing agency here and I enjoyed that a lot. But I am really not sure, wherever I could get a job.

Who is you favorite horse to ride at Auburn?
I get attached to horses easily so I really like them all. But, Changoo is probably my favorite. I also like Calvin and Clover.

What is your favorite part about riding?
It’s an escape. When you are riding you don’t really think about anything else, so that’s nice. When you have a horse that you are working with and you build a relationship with him, that is probably my favorite thing. You just really get to know each other and build a strong bond.