Making quite a name for herself, as a freshman, on the Equestrian team at the University of South Carolina, East Hampton native, Kelsey Urban won her first collegiate point this month, at her first away meet against the number one team in the country: the University of Georgia. But that’s not all, (as if that wasn’t enough) Urban was also named Most Outstanding Player in Horsemanship for her efforts.
“It was a very exciting day for the whole team,” said a modest Urban after her win. “My ride felt great and I felt I got a lot out of the horse I rode.”
When competing away from home, equestrian competitors ride the horses of the home team. With only a brief warm-up, they compete on these new horses and must figure them out quickly and adapt their riding to each individual horse. This ability, along with complete concentration and attention to detail is what makes the competitions so difficult.
“To have a freshman win at Georgia was terrific for us and very impressive,” beamed Cory Burkarth, part of the University of South Carolina’s Athletics Department Media Relations office, who was elated with Urban’s performance and her athletic prowess.
Head Equestrian Coach Boo Major agreed, “Kelsey competes in Horsemanship, which is a Western Discipline. From what I see, she is an aggressive competitor, which I didn’t completely expect because she is so sweet and always smiling, but she did a phenomenal job and sealed the win for us. We couldn’t be happier.”
Major added, “I think she will only get better and better from here, so we can’t wait and see what the future holds for her.”
Urban, who has been riding since she was six, started at White Birch Farm in East Hampton with trainer Amy Rader. Before leaving for college, Urban trained for the past three years at Powder Brook Farm, in Harwinton, with Jene Spagnola and Gretchen Mathes.
She earned an athletic scholarship to the University of South Carolina which, according to Major, is considered a division one school for equestrian sports (equestrian sports are considered a NCAA emerging sport).
“I have always loved riding and I am so grateful I get to do this at college,” said Urban.
“I absolutely love my team. It has made coming to school a little less scary,
because I have three roommates who are also on the Equestrian Team, so we
immediately had that in common.”
She added, “Plus, riding is usually such a solitary sport, being on a team, doing what I love, has been a great experience and a lot of fun so far.”
Singing Urban’s praises, Major explained, “Kelsey has a great way of figuring out a new horse quickly and going for it with them, trying to get the most out of them. She is also a great team player, always ready to help out others and very supportive of all her teammates. I am very happy with her riding and glad to have her as part of our team.”
“Kelsey’s father and I could not be more proud of her,” shared her mother Robin Urban.
“Kelsey is very talented and a hard worker and we think she made a great choice to go to the University of South Carolina. She couldn’t be happier! She loves her coach and her teammates and we are so excited and proud of her for starting off her freshman year so great!”
Over the next couple of months Kelsey will be training hard, focusing on her studies and getting closer with her new teammates. She has her sights set on looking to the future and hoping to do well at nationals this spring.