Otterbein Marketing Major Pursues Passion on the Equestrian Team

Posted Feb 12, 2021

Harold Walston

By Harold Walston ’21
Major: Marketing
Minor: Race and ethnic studies

I am in the home stretch of my senior year and I can’t believe that my flight is almost done. As I reflect back, my journey to becoming a Cardinal might not have been traditional, but it was worth it and I wouldn’t want to call any other school home.

I am a marketing major with a minor in race and ethnic studies. I am also a member of the Otterbein Equestrian team. I have been riding since I was four years old and competing since I was 12.

I transferred to Otterbein from Emory & Henry College in Virginia to develop my education and riding, and the only thing I regret is not coming to this school sooner. Riding was something I knew I could not go without doing in my collegiate experience and being able to combine that with my academic discipline while attending an amazing school has been the experience of a lifetime. All of my professors, coaches and horses have become pillars in moving me forward in life.

I like to think I defy the image of the typical college equestrian. At 6’5”, I’m not the classical size for an equestrian, but I come from a disciplined background that has allowed me to use my height to my advantage when it comes to riding.

I use the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science not only as a place of learning the art of riding, but as a daily escape. You can often find me there with my favorite mount, Big Leo, (or “Biggel” as I call him).

Like any transfer student, my transitioning was a little difficult. I didn’t really find my friend group until about halfway into my first semester and I felt like an outsider in some select spaces, but reaching out to my equine teammates made all the difference. Once I reached out and met more students in my major, too, I felt right at home. I found myself wanting to give this experience to other students and that’s when I decided to apply to be an Orientation Leader (OL). Being on the Summer Orientation, Advising & Registration (SOAR) team gave me a sense of purpose at Otterbein. I will never forget my incredible friends and SOAR family.

Being an OL taught me more about leadership, professionalism, and myself — and being an OL in the middle of a pandemic was an experience that taught me how to lean on my teammates.

I’m also involved the amazing student organization African American Student Union (AASU). Our organization is for Cardinals of every color who want to come to a space for self-expression. Being able to create that for students specifically at Otterbein has been rewarding and joy filled, and being elected to the executive board of AASU was inspiring for me. It has allowed me to express myself and my culture in a collaborative way with Cardinals of every color, race and walk of life.

Although my time at Otterbein is ending, I am so proud to be a lifelong Cardinal. Every exam, class and late night in the library has given me so much confidence and many life lessons. I will forever be grateful for my time at this amazing school and I have God, friends — and a couple of hooved animals — to thank for it.