Auburn Family

Auburn University Equestrian Team Rides Their Way to the Top

Auburn University is known for many things: SEC football, Toomer’s lemonade, engineering… but few would typically link Auburn and equestrian upon first thought.

That is changing.

Today, the Auburn University Equestrian team is ranked number one among college equestrian teams in the nation. Being on top is no strange feeling for them, as they won the national championship in 2013 and finished in the top ten in 2014 and 2015. The team is made up of 40 Division 1 SEC athletes competing for the NCAA title. 

Being a student-athlete is no easy feat. No matter the sport, all students have a rigorous schedule to balance. Between academics, community service, practices, meets and social life, Elizabeth Benson, Auburn University Equestrian senior said that her greatest challenge is time management.

“It was hard to start at 5 a.m. and go until the sun went down,” Benson said of her first few years. “Once I got a routine down for the day, it became so much easier. I remember even scheduling a 20-minute nap my freshman year!” (Photo: screenshot from AuburnTigers.com)

Sophomore team member Caitlin Creel said that she plans her weeks out in advance.  “We are expected to maintain a good GPA, do community service and be great teammates regardless of the craziness of our schedule,” said Creel. “It definitely takes lots of planning in advance, but it really isn't so bad once you get your schedule down.”

However, the team’s biggest advice for managing time does not lie within creating schedules or itineraries. Creel explained that when balancing a crazy schedule, downtime is a must.

“Schoolwork and the team come first, but at the end of the week, once all of those things are taken care of, I always make sure I give myself a little bit of fun time to just relax,” Creel said.

Senior Megan Bifano said that she socializes as best as she can when she has the energy. She said that she takes time, especially after big wins, to celebrate and relax.

As tricky as their busy schedules can be, the Auburn University Equestrian team comes out on top and manages to enjoy the “ride.” “We're by far always having the most fun and really enjoying the incredible opportunity that has been given to us,” Creel said. (Photos provided by Auburn University Equestrian Senior, Peyton Smith)

Being on the Auburn Equestrian team means being a part of a family. “It's all about the team in its entirety; no one individual can win the meet, so we try to be the best in everything that we do so that we can all come together on competition day,” Benson said. (Photo of Elizabeth Benson from AuburnTigers.com)

Benson, Creel and Bifano all agreed that their all-time favorite part of being on the Equestrian team is doing what they love with the people they love. Creel said that she’s never felt closer anyone else, other than her real family. Bifano describes the team as “39 of the best friends I could ever ask for.”

“As overwhelming as being a student athlete can be, nothing feels better than winning a national championship,” Bifano said. Regardless of the stressful schedule, hard practices and busy days, the Auburn University Equestrian Team has got it all figured out.


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