Captain’s Corner: Caitlin Hunter

Sport: Equestrian

House: Friedmans

Major: Biochemistry

How long have you been riding?

I’ve been riding for almost 12 years, and started competing about 9 years ago.

What is the hardest aspect of riding?

The ground! Just kidding. The hardest part of riding is being able to communicate with something that may have entirely different intentions than you. Horses, as prey animals, are very worried in new places or trying new things. In riding, we separate our horse from their herd of friends and teach them new things (or at least try to) every day, something that goes against every instinct in our horse.

What would you like to achieve this season? 

We’re looking forward to Regionals the last weekend of March, where I’m riding in Open Over Fences. I would love do well at Regionals and go on to Zones, but would be really excited if any of our amazing Regional qualifiers make it to Zones. A third of our team has qualified for Regionals, so I’m as excited to cheer them on and see their success as I am to actually ride myself.

Comment on the current season.

Well, this season has been incredible. We were champion at the UMass show this semester, and we haven’t been first at a show since ‘08. Then, we ended up as 2nd place overall in the seasons standings in Zone 1 Region 3, something that hasn’t happened since ‘05! Our girls are riding so well and are working really hard to improve each week. It’s made my senior year unbelievable. I’m so proud of everyone.

What advice would you offer someone who is just starting equestrian?

If you’re just starting, listen to your trainer! You get a ton of information in the beginning, and it can be really difficult to get your body balanced and strong. If you don’t understand something your trainer says, don’t be afraid to ask what she means so you can improve. Most importantly, be patient, there’s definitely a steep learning curve with riding, but stick with it! It’s totally worth it, and the bonds you make with the horses is something you’ll never experience otherwise.

Favorite Smith horse and why.

My favorite Smith horse is definitely Moose. He’s big and goofy, but such a lover. He’s tricky to figure out, but once you learn how to ride him correctly, he’s been the most rewarding horse in the barn for me. He can also get really excited jumping and get a little strong after a jump, but I love his enthusiasm (even if he isn’t the most coordinated of horses). He’s definitely my buddy and I’m going to miss him so much once I graduate.

How would you like to be remembered as captain?

I’d like to be remembered in the same way that I remember my former captains; calm, collected, always knowing what’s coming next, but more importantly always being accessible to everyone on the team, both as a leader and as a friend. Over the past four or five years, the team has made a huge transformation in not only competitiveness, but also closeness. I admire past captains immensely for their ability to bring the team together, and I hope to be remembered for helping that process.

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