Around the Water Trough

Queens Eventing Team

By Morgan Fenrick, Sophomore at Queens University in Charlotte, NC

Morgan and Rose hit XC at the Carolina Horse Park  [Photo by Brant Gamma Photo]

Morgan and Rose hit XC at the Carolina Horse Park

[Photo by Brant Gamma Photo]

Hello! my name is Morgan Fenrick and I’m a rising sophomore at Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, NC, with a major of nursing and an honors minor.

As my time of being a high school student came to a close, I was confident that I was going to continue to compete and enjoy the equestrian discipline of eventing.  Because of that, when I started my search of colleges, I was very particular about the environment that I was to study, grow, learn, and ride in.  I specifically searched for universities in well-established equestrian communities; those that had some sort of local equestrian community, university team, or club already established. 

After asking people in my desired field of study about good universities that fit my criteria, my search led me to Queens University of Charlotte, set on an idyllic, beautiful campus in the picturesque Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte, NC.  Queens is a small liberal-arts university with a diverse population of instructors and students that support a range of extracurricular passions and a love of sports.  Queens is also the home to nationally ranged and largely successful athletic teams and programs.  Sports ranging from swimming, basketball, golf, triathlon, and even rugby, Queens students are a force to be reckoned with both on and off the field.  Luckily, the Queens campus is near enough that I wasn’t forced to move my horses to a new barn and they also boasted an equestrian club.  During my first semester I talked with the Queens Athletic Department about forming an USEA recognized Intercollegiate Team (which was allowed and is currently active).  Now I continue to compete at the USEA recognized level with my two competition horses: ‘Roseville’ (‘Rose’) and ‘Free Agency’ (‘JB’) while being an active member of the Queens campus and not required to compromise my eventing pursuits. Additionally, I am an active member of a sorority, and a campus tour guide as an on-campus job. 

My tips for an eventer at college:

Based on my experiences of founding a USEA eventing team and as eventer in college, here are some tips that I either planned proactively before I started college, and some are based off learning things the hard way.  Either way, I hope they help you during your athletic and academic pursuits.

Tip #1: Talk to your professors!

This is something they will hammer into you during orientation and something I would like to personally get better at doing.  Professors are some of the friendliest, understanding people in the entire world.  Therefore, if you have a class that conflicts with a super fantastic one-day clinic that’s an hour away, understand that both are educational opportunities and if you happen to choose the clinic over class, treat the clinic as a lecture class at your university.  You’re there to learn, so learn.  But most importantly, go talk to your professor.  Odds are that your professor doesn’t know what eventing is (or whatever your discipline you might be), so go to office hours (scheduled times where the professor is in their office and you are welcome to come talk to them at any time in the semester) and talk to them!  Discuss your sport and make it clear that you might have to miss a lecture or two in order to go hold horses for the farrier.  Timely and clear communication is essential in order to have a positive relationship with your professors, something that can help you in the long term.

Tip #2: Go to the gym! 

Morgan and Rose ready for dressage!

Morgan and Rose ready for dressage!

I’m not saying this to combat the stereotype of the “Freshman Fifteen,” but rather you are now a full-time student that happens to be a student athlete in a sport that cannot take place on a convenient field a five-minute walk from your dorm.  And it’s understandably hard at first to balance driving to the barn to go ride with taking a break from studying to watch Netflix.  So, make the conscious decision to make the times when you go out to the barn to ride go as far as possible.  During midterm exams, it’s easy to hole up in the 24-hour library and not see your horse for a week, but you at least owe it to your very fresh and excitable horse to make that next ride to be as efficient as possible.  There’s nothing more exhausting than that first ride after a busy week away from the barn, make that habit a thing of the past by working out in a gym or take up running.  Even if you’ve never worked out a day in your life, don’t let that scare you off. Most colleges, like Queens, offer free workout or yoga classes throughout the week that you can incorporate into your schedule.  And there are numerous, reputable workbooks that you can purchase online that are made for riders, by riders.  No excuses!

Tip #3: Make each ride worthwhile!

One of the biggest things I struggled with is figuring out a plan to keep my horses as fit as possible in the least rides possible in order to maximize the time I had whilst at the barn.  I no longer had an hour and half for each to tack up, warm up, ride, cool down, ice, and graze.  This tip delves into one of the biggest college student advice terms: time management.  To start, begin timing and record your normal routine when it comes to an average day at the barn.  After you’ve recorded this, see if you can streamline the process in order to save time on a daily basis.

Never underestimate the power of pole and cavaletti work.  During the heat of a college semester, you probably won’t have to the time to do 40-minute trot and canter sets; so be clever about what you incorporate into your rides.  Consult a trusted trainer or any reputable workbooks available to learn how to properly set up polework.  Once you’ve mastered walking out poles and/or cavaletti, make sure you understand what each exercise is doing for your horse’s fitness so you can gear your ride with that in mind. 

Tip #4: Reach out!

If you’re on an equestrian team at your university (hopefully at Queens - Go Royals!), instead of only trailering off property to go to the show, try to give yourself (and your horse) a mental break and go to another barn or somewhere with safe trails and go for a trail ride.  Being in nature and away from distractions, even for a few brief hours, does wonders for your physical health.  Not to mention the beneficial effects for your mental health.  You might as well get some hours in the saddle and spend time with your horse as you both unwind. 

Overall, I hope these pointers help you in your days as a student athlete.


And remember - Go Royals!

Find out about the Queens Eventing Team:

Instagram: @queenseventing

FaceBook: Queens Eventing!