Mixing Horses, HR Studies

Cornell Equestrian Team member cites support of faculty and team
Monday, April 6, 2015

Katrina Donahue ’16 started taking horseback riding lessons 12 years ago in Hopkinton, Mass., her hometown.

Today, she is a member of the Cornell Equestrian Team, winning reserve champion -- second place -- in the novice flat division of the 2014 Ivy League Championships.

“Being a member of the Cornell Equestrian Team is a privilege that I had only dreamed about before trying out when I transferred to Cornell my sophomore year,” said Donahue, who moved up to the intermediate flat division this season.

“The team provides support, structure and success and has been the highlight of my Cornell experience.”

The equestrian team season stretches from September to May. Riders practice several times a week, lift weights on campus and also groom horses, muck stalls and clean saddles and bridles.

The university’s Oxley Equestrian Center on Pine Tree Road is home base for the Big Red team and its 14 horses. A heated indoor arena also used by Cornell’s polo teams makes year-round riding possible.

The NCAA Division 1 equestrian team competes in an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association zone that includes Alfred State College, Alfred University, Binghamton University, State University of New York College at Brockport, Elmira College, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Ithaca College, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, State University of New York at Buffalo and University of Rochester.

Donahue is not new to the world of competitive riding. In high school, she competed in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, an organization that mimics collegiate level equestrian competition.

At ILR, she is primarily interested in human resource management studies.

Donahue says her “absolute favorite thing about this school” is “the support that the close-knit ILR community provides.”

“The support and passion for learning that drives the faculty in the school” has being the defining feature of her experience as a student, she said.

She credits her ability to juggle packed academic and team schedules to “the support of my team, athletics and my professors and advisers in ILR.”