Interview with Alessia Woods ’19

Photos Courtesy Of | Smith’s equestrian team has had a season full of great success this year.


Cas Sweeney ‘19
Associate Editor

Alessia Woods ’19 is co-captain of the equestrian team for the 2016-2017 school year.

What made you first get into horseback riding?

I was always a ‘horse girl’ when I was younger.  I feel like most girls go through a horse phase, but I never got out of mine.  When I was younger, around kindergarten age, my family moved to Illinois.  As an incentive to move, my parents promised me a riding lesson. One ride led to another and then another!

What has your experience with the equestrian team been like?

It’s been great! Coming into college knowing no one, the Equestrian Team was a built in friend group.  A lot of us bonded over our shared love for horses. They are a supportive group of strong individuals.

What is your favorite thing about being on the equestrian team?

The team environment, especially on show days. Equestrian is a hard sport to get everyone in one place at one time. Unlike other sports, we can’t practice together at the same time because of safety reasons and academic schedules.  The night before each competition, the team gathers for Boot Polishing.  All members meet to watch past videos of events and discuss our goals for the upcoming day.  Competitions are the times we are all together as a team. Everyone supports one another and cheers each other on.

I heard that you are one of the most successful of all the teams you compete against. Can you tell me more about that?

This year, 11 members of the team made it to Regionals and four went on Zones. Smith was also Reserve Champion High Point College this past season. Out of eight teams competing at every show from our New England area, Smith Equestrian was almost always in the top winning positions.

Recently, Smith has announced that it plans to transition the equestrian team from a varsity to a club sport. How has that journey been so far for the team?

Smith Equestrian has had a long tradition as a varsity sport.  Although the team is disappointed in the status change, we have worked closely with the administration to explore all possibilities to remain a Division III varsity sport.  Another change is we will no longer be able to walk down to the barn during the week to be with the horses or easily attend lessons and training.

Through it all, the team has remained strong. To the team’s credit, everyone had a successful season and we look forward to our continued success.

Some alumns are concerned about the change in the equestrian teams status. What can they do to help?

This next semester is going to be a transition for the team.  The alums could help by showing continued support.  They are a vocal champion for Smith Equestrian and we appreciate their thoughts and opinions as we move forward.

This is a great question for the 2017-2018 Smith Equestrian student leadership team to review in the upcoming year.

What’s next for the equestrian team as a club sport? Do you have any goals or concerns for the team in upcoming years?

The equestrian team will start its season in the Fall. We are going to be based in a new facility and will probably start lessons soon after everyone returns to campus.

A goal that I have for the 2017-2018 season is to continue to improve as a team.  Everyone is very talented. Next semester I hope more people qualify for Regionals, go to Zones, and make it to Nationals!

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