I was always taught that having a properly balanced horse would equal success in the show ring. Now, as a student athlete at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, I have to balance my schoolwork with intercollegiate and USA Equestrian horse shows. Time management is a skill that I have had to learn in order to remain a winner in all three venues.
Andrew Lustig judged the Las Colinas Horse Show in Dallas, TX. After he saw me ride and met with me, he offered me a place on the SCAD Equestrian Team. I was floored; I never would have expected horses to light a pathway to college.
In order to stay on the equestrian team I have to keep my cumulative average above a 3.0. Because SCAD is a school for art and design we not only take typical academic courses but drawing and design fundamentals as well. These projects are hard to take on the road because most are 18 x 24 in. and very difficult to pack for travel. So keeping up with my studies is sometimes a challenge.
At the USAE shows we leave Savannah by plane on a Thursday and return late Sunday night. This year I competed in the Winter Equestrian Festival in Palm Beach, Fla. I had many responsibilities at the show. We competed on the college's donated horses, and we spent a great deal of time both preparing and caring for our mounts. Andrew Lustig also arranged for us to have lessons with other top-flight professionals, like Susie Humes. When not showing, we watched some of the world's leading riders in hunter, jumper and dressage. Observation is a fantastic way to learn and attending this event was an incredible experience.
The intercollegiate shows are one-day events and do not take up quite as much time as the USAE competitions. During our regular season we travel closer to home, which enables us to take a school bus. On these road trips the team has a chance to get to know each other better. Being on a team is a unique aspect of the sport that you usually cannot find in equestrian disciplines. Since you can only enter two classes at Intercollegiate Horse Show Association shows, and the host college is completely responsible for the care of their horses, this allows me more time to complete my projects and homework.
I attribute my intercollegiate success to my mother Laura Hightower. She owns a farm and is a trainer in Flower Mound, Texas. Being the daughter of a professional gave me the chance to ride many different horses. Since at most college competitions I have ridden horses I am unfamiliar with, I believe my childhood riding experience has helped me succeed.
Balancing schoolwork, intercollegiate horse shows and USAE shows is a lot of work, yet I cannot imagine a better reward for my scholastic work than riding. Being at the Savannah College of Art and Design has been a priceless experience. I cannot wait to see what else is in store for me.
Jordan Siegel is in the class of 2006 at the Savannah College of Art and Design. For more information on the Savannah College of Art and Design, visit www.scad.edu.