Furman Equestrian Team

Hi everyone!

Hope you and your horses are braving the cold weather, wherever you may be. Greenville was hit pretty hard with snow and ice last month, which gave us Furman students a much-needed day off! As for the horses, they got about a week off. I posted a picture of my 8 am lesson (don’t worry we rescheduled to later!) where it was so cold that I swore my toes were nonexistent, and it even started snowing!

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The end of January and the beginning of this month have been very eventful for the team. We recently rode in two horse shows, one at Lander, and one at GSU. The Lander show was a huge success for the team where we finished 4th overall! Some of our teammates had great rides, and even a few blue ribbons.

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Proud of one of our teammates for winning her over-fences class!

There were a lot of teaching moments, since it was our first show of the year. However, learning from those little mistakes and working towards improving them, results in a very rewarding experience, once you end up nailing your course or flat class. This past weekend, we traveled about 3 and half hours down to Georgia Southern University’s farm, in a car ride full of nonstop laughter and huge jam sessions. The Team did really well, with all of our over-fences riders placing, which is such an accomplishment for us. I, yet again, rode a pony for my over-fences (it’s a reoccurring thing) and was happily surprised to get a second place! At the Lander show, I remember saying that “the day I win my over-fences, I will know I worked hard to achieve that place”. Although I didn’t necessarily win, and don’t think I’ve reached that deserving moment yet, I feel one step closer to accomplishing that goal. Regardless of the placing, there is nothing better than leaving the ring and feeling great about your performance. This is something I hope to feel in the next four years riding on this great team. It’s only up from here!

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This was not the pony, but this was in my flat class at GSU! (In the rain)

For this month’s post I wanted to mention and discuss rider’s superstitions, or rituals. Do you have any? Ever since I can remember, I always have to wear my “lucky” socks. Every. Single. Show. They have horseshoes on them, (how ironic) are brown, and worn in from a countless number of horseshows, but without them, I feel incomplete! Since IHSA is different for me, and honestly a lot less nerve-wracking, I’m still forming my so-called “ritual”. But from previous shows, I know that I need to eat a lot before I ride! There’s nothing worse than losing energy when you’re riding and then not being able to pay attention. (It’s happened to me a bunch.) Granola bars for the win! As I’ve mentioned before, being on a team has been such a great experience for me, changing the way I consider riding and the aspect of a team. However, it has really helped me become more independent in ways such as making sure I do eat, do drink enough water, and pay attention to when I need to be dressed and ready etc. It’s different because before, my amazing parents would be the ones looking out for me when it came to those things. S/o show parents! Talking about rituals some more, I think my teammates could account for the fact that I have to have my hairnet be comfortable and not visible, or I won’t stop talking about it! Through my many trainers over the years with their different requirements, I’ve gradually adopted the idea of it needing to look perfect (or near perfect). Another important “ritual” I’ve tried to develop is before I go into the ring, taking a deep breath, telling myself I’m going to do great, and taking my time as I make my entrance. I think there are a lot of eager riders that immediately pick up the canter once they touch the ring sand, and end up picking up the wrong lead. These are just a few little things that I’ve continued to implement and learned to improve over the years, which have been beneficial to my success in riding!

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Always jumping a PONY! (At Lander horse show)

The Team’s next show is February 20th at Clemson! This show, we bring some of our farm’s horses, so that should be a fun experience. I know you all must be anxiously awaiting that picture I promised of me wearing my purple pants, however, it will have to wait until next month. Keep warm and happy riding!

Hi friends!

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas as well, hopefully spent snuggling with and overfeeding treats to your furry ponies. I’m sad that I wasn’t able to write last month. Furman became stressful with finishing up first semester accompanied with exams. Thank goodness for riding!! I think we can all agree that it’s such a stress-reliever. I was able to go out to the barn and lesson, even though the Carolina weather has been oscar-w500-h500confused lately, and ride my new favorite steed, Oscar! I don’t know what it is about white horses and me. For the past 5 or so years, I’ve leased and competed with 3 different white horses! And my fourth was a favorite of mine but she was a chestnut mare (you know how those are). Maybe its because they seem so magical, do you agree? Anyway, I’ve ridden Oscar for a while now, switching between him and the school horses, so I don’t get used to riding him every lesson hehe. Although he is an experienced hunter that seems to be very point and shoot, he has taught me a lot! I feel more confident when I ride him because he is capable of larger jumps and he’s aware of his job. Just like any horse, he gets excited but it makes for a fun ride.

The Team did not have any shows last month because the season was ending, so we took a lot of time to focus on our studies (which I did), but I also had to ride! Now that it’s the New Year, I bet a lot of you readers have some resolutions in riding, because I sure do. Having had a little experience being on the equestrian team and getting a feel for the different ways shows are run, I’m able to form some goals I have for this year.johnny-w500-h500

1) I would really like to improve my position! (I think that’s a reoccurring one for a lot of people). I’ve always competed in hunters and occasionally equitation but I was never as confident in eq. Hunters seemed so much more straightforward. However, now being on the team, I have no choice but to improve my eq because that’s what I’m judged on! I look forward to focusing on this goal this year.

2) HEELS (over jumps) Well, I said it. Heels! Personally, I feel like my heels have a mind of their own. Some days they look beautiful and other days they think they can start to move towards the sky. I’m thinking that sadly, working no stirrups and doing some stretches may help me improve in that category. Any suggestions?

3) Sitting trot. Lastly is my sitting trot. At a recent college of Charleston show in the hack, I was riding this very energetic and strong horse that was at times difficult to control. However, when it got to the time the judge asked for a sitting trot, his trot was so bouncy that my feet flew forward and I just couldn’t sit down! It was upsetting because according to one of my trainers, I looked well in control (I didn’t feel that whatsoever) and the judge seemed to like me. But when the sitting trot came around I was pinned lower because I was all over the place. This is a reason why I really like the way IHSA does horse shows, because you honestly never know what you’re going to get! Instead of someone owning a horse whose trot they have learned to nail at the sit, we are challenged to ride and find out how a different selection, rather than just one horse, rides.river-w500-h500

I’m so so excited because the Team just received their apparel! I purchased some new lavender (our school color) Ariat pants. That should be funny! Also, we are holding elections this week for team positions, such as president, vice president, secretary etc. I’m running for the PR position! Wish me luck. Overall, we are looking forward to improving and finding success as a Team this year. Our next show is at Lander on January 30th. Happy riding J

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!