After experiencing success last season, Otterbein's Equestrian IHSA, (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association), hunt seat team is already off to a good start.
Sophomore Jordan Hugenschmidt, a rider on the hunt seat team, said, "We have only had one show so far, and we were reserve champion the first day and overall champion the second day. We are excited to compete at our next show."
Last year, the hunt seat team placed fifth in the nation. Individual riders also placed in different events.
According to Danielle Duryea, a junior on the hunt seat team, this success has only added to the pressure for this year.
“We are very competitive and used to winning," said Duryea. "We want to win. We want to do as good as last year or better.”
Throughout the year, the team has a total of eight shows that are spread over four weekends. Each rider on the team has two mandatory practices per week. These practices determine who will compete at each show.
The long season poses different challenges for the team, like changes in weather.
“The weather can be extreme and that changes the horse's attitude, which is nerve-wracking for the riders," said junior Isabel Orders. "No matter how hard you work or how prepared you are, everything could go wrong and be out of your control.”
Later this year, the team will host its first Tournament of Champions. This tournament is not an official season show but is a chance to see how Otterbein’s team holds up to other strong teams, even those outside of Otterbein's division.