fur 2-w500-h500Hi everybody! My name is Cawood Habenicht and I’m currently a freshman on the Equestrian Team at Furman University, in Greenville. I live in Wayne, Pennsylvania, which is quite a hike, I know, but definitely worth the kind people and beauty of South Carolina. I’ve been riding in the hunters for about 13 years now and because my parents were successful in never giving in to my constant begging for a horse, I’ve leased and shown a different horse each fall, leading up to the time I would leave the nest for college. Thanks to my high school, I was able to ride as my independent sport for each fall quarter! I’ve worked with green, jumper and almost push-button hunter, horses. I’ve enjoyed every second of the opportunities I’ve gotten and the people I’ve met and continue to meet in the horse world. As far as my future goes, I’m hoping to pursue becoming an equine vet. I’ve always loved working and being with animals, of course horses in particular, ever since I can remember.

When I was applying to Furman, it had all of the things I wanted in a college: small, liberal fur 3-w500-h500arts, in the South, a great town nearby (Greenville), and a nice sense of community. But also, don’t let me forget, an equestrian team!! It met all my “criteria”. I knew it was the school for me.

I don’t know what I would have done without my weekly dose of smushy little horse faces. Our team right now consists of 27 members, ranging from a few beginners to experienced riders like me! From the beginning I knew I would have a blast being a part of this group of goofy, supportive and fun girls. There isn’t a time in my weekly lesson that I’m not laughing. It’s really great to have girls in different years give you guidance to not only horse-related things but also school and life stuff.

fur 4-w500-h500Our first IHSA horse show took place in Columbia, SC on October 17 and 18 against USC Aiken, USC Columbia, Converse College, Clemson University, College of Charleston, Wofford College, Wesleyan College, Georgia Southern University, Lander University, Coastal Carolina University and last but not least, us! We’re Zone 5, Region 3. Because it was my first college showing experience I really didn’t know what to expect, so I made sure I had an open mind going into it. It’s definitely different than my “norm” because you draw a horse you’ve never ridden and only show in two classes. Nonetheless, I had a blast!

The team did the best we’ve ever done! We got 4th overall for the two days. Although I’ve always felt the team aspect was present at shows with my number of barns over the years at home, this was sort of different to me. We are all-similar ages, which makes it easier to get along, and regardless of experience, we all go to the ring and cheer on each other. That’s something that’s really important to me along with being supportive, having good sportsmanship, and having fun. It was a good feeling that yes, there was some competition, but it wasn’t the intimidating, “my horse is better than yours” kind that can be very nerve-wracking. I like how IHSA gives equal competition to every one.

I think we could all agree that riding is a very independent sport, but being on a college team is really changing the way I think about that statement. We’re all there to improve our riding and not only get a chance to represent our team, but face the challenges of riding horses we’ve never ridden before. If you couldn’t tell, I’m really enjoying it so far! J Up next is College of Charleston this weekend, the 14th, and the 21st TBD. Wish us luck! So long until next month and happy riding!!

Cawood is pictured above on Conde at a recent IHSA horse show!