Equestrian team returns decorated from Texas Tech IHSA Show

The SNU equestrian team. Photo provided by Amy Sattler

By Patrick Bonham, Guest Writer

Last weekend SNU’s Equestrian Team traveled to Lubbock, Texas where Texas Tech hosted the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).  Southern Nazarene joined numerous other colleges around Oklahoma and Texas for this event.

Head coach and Barn Manager for the SNU Equestrian team, Megan Parker, stated, “They all showed very well this weekend. All of the riders have improved tremendously from last semester. I’m very proud to be their coach. Overall they are fun to coach and fun to be around. They all work hard to get where they are today.”

The team consists of eight members ranging from freshman to senior, coming from all majors. The equestrian program at Southern Nazarene is the students do not have to own their own horse nor does the program require any previous riding experience.

The equestrian team returned to campus colorfully decorated with ribbons and accomplishments. Amy Sattler, junior Biology major from Bridge City, TX, competed in two shows on Saturday. She placed second in the first show, which allowed her to advance to the next class division. In the second show she swept the competition with a first place.

Joshua Weir, Junior Social Studies Education major from Oklahoma City, placed second in his first show. Jennifer Huffhines, Senior Business Administration major from Pampa, TX, placed first in Advanced Horsemanship. Rebecca Sylvester, Freshman Biology and Chemistry major from Leonardville, KS placed fourth in her first show.

The Equestrian team is a family. They all spend hours of their week together, whether practicing, traveling to a show, or spending time together having fun out at the barns.

“My favorite part of the equestrian team is hard to narrow down… but traveling with my teammates and learning so much about horses every time I practice or show,” said Rebecca Jackson, Junior Psychology major from Luther, OK.

“My favorite part is the opportunity to hang out with other “horse people” and I learn so much more about horse and how to work with them,” Sattler said.

Along with all the fun and excitement the equestrian team still faces difficult situations.

“The hardest part of being on the team is understanding that every horse is different and every time you ride is going to be a little different. It is very challenging to go to a show and get on a horse you have never ridden before,” Huffhines said.

“Anytime you are working with an one-thousand pound animal with a mind of its own, prepare for a lesson in humility,” Sattler. said, laughing.

This team practices together as well as individually. Most of the members are spending six to eight hours a week in practice, after which they rush back to campus to finish up homework just to wake up and restart the day.

Lesli Kelly, a Sophomore Biology major from Altus, OK, said, “The hardest part would be managing time with practices and homework, since shows are on the weekends you don’t get to spend the weekend catching up on homework.”

As busy as they are, they somehow find time to get their work done on time and still have a presence on the campus with small groups and friends.

The team’s next show is will be in Gainesville, TX. There will also be a show hosted by Redlands Community College located in El Reno, OK, 35 minutes west of Bethany.

Interested student can sign up for the Horsemanship classes offered at the Southern Nazarene University Equestrian Complex located across the street from the soccer fields. Classes can count towards  students’ physical education requirement or just as an extra elective.

To support the team and the program, there are Southern Nazarene University Equestrian Team shirts available for purchase from Megan Parker, mparker@mail.snu.edu. Students can also contact Parker with any questions regarding the team, competitions, and classes offered.