For the 13 new members of the Auburn equestrian team this year, not everyone is as familiar with the South as others. For freshman Hunt Seat rider Ericka Koscinski, living on The Plains has been a new experience coming from Center Moriches, New York, but one she has adapted to easily. A biomedical science major, Koscinski’s previous equestrian accomplishments and hard-working character has made her an asset to the team in and out of the arena.
A USET winner at the Vermont Summer Festival, Medal and Maclay Finals qualifier and third place winner at the Washington International Horse Show Pony Equitation Finals, Koscinski has proved herself a valuable addition to the Auburn equestrian family.
Q: Are there any specific goals you’re working toward while at Auburn?
A: While I’m here I definitely want to get my degree in biochemical sciences. I want to become a dentist, preferably an oral surgeon. I want to keep working with the horses because it’s just always been a part of my life and I love it so much, and I want to have friends for life so I think being part of the team will definitely help me.
Q: Who has influenced you the most in life?
A: Definitely, my mom. She’s always there for me no matter what, and my dad too. They support me in every decision I make no matter what I do, so the definitely influenced me to become the person I am today.
Q: How do you calm yourself down before competing?
A: I like it when either my trainer or someone tries to tell me jokes because it keeps my mind off it. I eat a lot so I eat which sounds like a problem but it’s not. I just like to eat. But definitely jokes help and I just try to stay focused and stay calm by myself.
Q: What are some lessons horseback riding has taught you in life?
A: It’s definitely taught me how to deal with disappointment. It’s not easy going in and not knowing what you’re going to have each and every time, could be different. It’s also taught me how to stay humble because one day you could be winning and the next it could just all fall apart and you could be back at the bottom. But it’s also taught me how to stay dedicated and work hard.
Q: What is your favorite place in Auburn?
A: Definitely the equestrian center just because it’s with horses and I like being around the horses.
Q: What’s your favorite horse to ride at Auburn?
A: Wizz without a doubt. He’s just so soft when he does everything and he listens well.
Q: Do you enjoy jumping or flatting more?
A: I love to jump but the Flat is something I haven’t gotten to do before, so it’s such a different challenge that I actually really like it.
Q: What do you think separates AUET apart from other equestrian teams?
A: The family aspect of the team for sure. Everyone is always so supportive of each other. No matter what there’s always someone that has your back and they push you to work hard. And I feel like if they weren’t there telling you were going to win it wouldn’t happen. You need to know you’re going to win.
Q: What do you do to motivate yourself to keep improving?
A: Sometimes I go back out there and I try again no matter what. I sometimes like it when people yell at me, just snaps me out of it and then I go in and fix all my mistakes. And just to keep going and try to ride as much as possible to fix my errors or anything, any issues.
Q: What do you consider to be your biggest equestrian achievement?
A: I think my biggest achievement would be not necessarily a prize, but just being able to work with young horses and see how far they come throughout the years. The last few years, I’ve ridden younger horses and it’s something I haven’t been able to do before. I got an opportunity to work with them and it’s been a really great experience and I like to see where the horses end up being at the end. It’s very rewarding to see.
Q: What has been the hardest thing about transitioning into college life?
A: Actually, as weird as this sounds, spare time because I was so used to not having spare time at all because I used to dance and I used to play tennis for the team at home. So going back to my room after dinner and just doing some homework and then going to bed is something different, definitely. So definitely just spare time. Some people think we don’t have spare time but I feel like I do just because of how busy I was, so I just had to get used to it.