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German Student Competes with Equestrian Team

German Student Competes with Equestrian Team

By Alli Bates ’16

German student Mara Heinold has always had a love of horses. She brought that love with her to Otterbein, where she competes with the University’s dressage team.

“I've been competing on my own with my horses at home in Germany since I was nine. My horses are the Icelandic horse breed, so I was competing in haired competitions rather than dressage shows, as I am doing at Otterbein this year,” said Heinold.

Heinold always wanted to show and compete against other people, not only to win ribbons and prizes, but to show other equestrian competitors her progress with her horses, which she personally trained. But at Otterbein, Heinold competes on horses trained by others.

“Showing at Otterbein, and in general showing in the IDA (Intercollegiate Dressage Association), is a great opportunity to test my own riding on a variety of different horses and to gain a lot of experience in handling different situations with horses and people professionally,” said Heinold.

Heinold explains that the best part about competing is to be there as a team and to feel the unity and the belonging between the team members.

“It doesn't matter if you are a freshman or a senior, if you have competed a lot or just started, we are all part of the same team and that's exactly how it feels. If you are having a bad day, the team is going to support you and try to cheer you up, and if you're having a good day, they party with you,” said Heinold.

The most challenging part for Heinold is to stay confident even after a bad show day.

“I am that kind of person who tries to be successful in every part of their life at every time. But if you have to deal with horses, you sometimes have to deal with bad scores even if you tried to do your best,” said Heinold.

Otterbein’s dressage team qualified to compete at the IDA Nationals at Centenary College in New Jersey from April 22-24. Follow the team on Twitter for updates @Otter_Trotters.