Jacobi, Perry ready for equestrian challenge

The Friday night lights this week will not be on a football field but on a jump course in Wellington, Fla.

Junior Haley Jacobi and freshman Kaitlin Perry will represent TCU at the third annual Collegiate Equitation Challenge, where 16 riders will compete in a tournament style format and go head-to-head.

Every college that participates in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association format can send one rider to compete, and it is up to the coach to select who would represent the program and the school the best, hunt seat head coach Logan Fiorentino said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase our riders and the type of student-athlete we have here at TCU,” Fiorentino said.

Jacobi will compete in the equitation over fences event and had extra practices to prepare, Fiorentino said.

Because it was a special competition and because the courses tended to be more difficult, Jacobi wrote in an email that she was preparing mentally as well.

“This week, I have been going to practice with a game-type mindset every day,” Jacobi wrote.

“Rather than it just being a regular practice, I have been taking it as I only have one shot to get it done.”

Fiorentino said she had a lot of confidence in Jacobi and believed she would do well on Friday.

“She works incredibly hard, has a really great work ethic and a great attitude about what it means to be part of our team,” Fiorentino said. “And it’s really reflected in her riding ability and what she can do on a horse.”

Perry will be in the demonstration ride for the equitation on the flat competition, which is a new event to the challenge this year.

Fiorentino said Perry would perform the flat pattern and would set the standard of what the judges would look for during the event.

Perry wrote in an email that she felt confident in her ability to execute the patterns she would perform but that she knew her biggest challenge was that she would ride an unfamiliar horse.

“I feel my biggest obstacle will be the same obstacle shared by Haley and other competitors: getting on a horse I’ve never ridden and immediately start a conversation with my hands, seat and legs so that the horse will respond to me in a split second,” Perry wrote.

Even though Perry is a freshman, Fiorentino said she saw a lot of growth from her and that she knew Perry would be a good representative for TCU.

“Kaitlin is fun to work with,” Fiorentino said. “She has a great perspective, she has a great sense of humor and she really loves this program here at TCU.”

Both riders wrote that they were excited for the opportunity and the chance to cheer for each other at the competition.

“Having Haley there to support me will be very helpful,” Perry wrote. “I am also thrilled to watch her compete and, of course, you’ll be able to hear me cheering for her all the way in Florida.”