What makes a champion?
For Katie Lynch '13, horse riding is more than a passion. It's a lifestyle.
A government and environmental studies double major, a scholar in the College's Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment and a Henry David Thoreau Foundation Scholar, Lynch balances a heavy workload with a serious commitment to show riding. So it is no surprise that Lynch was thrilled to be one of 16 finalists from around the country selected to participate in the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Emerging Athletes Program (EAP) National Training Session Nov. 15-18 in Gurnee, Ill.
"Heading toward early graduation in December, it is incredible to feel I can start to put a foot in the door of the industry I would like to be a part of as a professional," said Lynch, who is so committed to her sport that she received special permission to live on a local horse farm during the academic year.
Lynch applied to the USHJA EAP in the spring of 2012. She was selected to participate in a clinic in Bedford, N.Y. - one of 10 clinics held throughout the country. During extensive four-day sessions, participants hone many of the skills imperative to being a top-level rider. Riders are instructed on flatwork, gymnastics, related distances and course work, as well as an intensive stable-management curriculum. Riders must also complete a written exam, which plays a key role in determining their eligibility for the National Training Session. Each clinic had 20 to 24 riders vying for 16 national session spots.
At Connecticut College, Lynch served as the captain of the equestrian team for two years, qualifying for the regional championship three years in a row. She won ribbons at Zones (the league playoffs) and has also won the EQUUS Foundation Scholarship from the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association two years in a row, as well as the USHJA Academic Scholarship.
As Lynch continues to work hard in the classroom and in the ring, she maintains her focus and keeps her eye on two important challenges that lie ahead - the National Session this month and early graduation in December. "For now, my plan is to get as many hours in the saddle as possible," Lynch says. "In terms of preparation, the biggest part is trying not to get too excited!"