Nov. 10, 2011
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by: Anthony Alfano, Auburn media relations
What was it like growing up with two older brothers?
"It was fun. It made me pretty competitive. Both of my brothers, Michael and Adam, played sports in high school. One of my brothers played soccer in college. I liked having two older brothers to look up to. My brother's friends were pretty protective of me."
When did you first start riding?
"I started riding when I was 6 years old. My dad said he would never buy me a horse, which is kind of funny because I have had a lot of horses between now and then. I was 10 years old when I really started riding competitively, but I also danced. I had to choose one, so I chose equestrian. I really love animals. I have seven dogs at home. We're kind of like an animal-crazy family, which is why I really like riding."
How supportive have your parents been in your equestrian career?
"They have been extremely supportive. Growing up, my mom came with me to every show. As long as I worked hard, my parents would do anything they could to help me with my riding career. It really made a difference and I'm thankful for that."
Who has been most helpful with your transition from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, to Auburn?
"All the upperclassmen have been really helpful. I knew most of the older girls before I came to Auburn. I live with Maggie McAlary and Anna Beck. Everybody has been really supportive. When you first get here it's pretty intense until you figure out what's going on."
Describe your experience with having competed in Europe.
"It was really fun. Going over to Europe was a whole new experience. When you win an event they raise your flag and play the national anthem. Competing in Europe was a good experience and I am thankful to have that under my belt. The courses over there are much more difficult. We visited many countries like Holland, France, Germany and Belgium. I'd have to say that France was my favorite."
Describe the transition from competing individually to being a part of a team.
"The format at school compared to outside of school is totally different for me considering that riding is traditionally an individual sport and I've never been on a team before. It's a whole different type of pressure when you're showing because you are doing it for somebody more than just for yourself and your horse. I think it adds pressure, but in a good way. It's nice because if you make a mistake, you have other people to provide support."
What has been the key to your success this year?
"I'm a lot less nervous than I was. Last year I made some mistakes over-thinking stuff. I'm more confident in myself with both riding and in school."
What has been your most memorable riding experience to date?
"The most memorable moment so far for me was when I won the 2009 Young Riders Championships. The show featured some tough competition. It's not just you that has to be doing well, it's your horse that has to be good as well. To win it was really exciting because anything can happen."
What are your goals, both personally and as a whole, for the rest of the season?
"I just want to keep doing well and I want the team to keep doing what we're doing. The goal is to not get worn down before the varsity championships, which is still a long time away."