Will Seidel, News Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Odessa Thacker has always had a passion for riding horses. Starting at age six, Thacker has been riding for sixteen years. What got Thacker into Equestrian though, goes a few years back. “I helped out with horseback riding summer camps and spent a lot of time at the barn growing up, and I really fell in love with both teaching people how to ride and learning the science behind the horses,” said Thacker.
Before Thacker discovered that it was possible to go to college for Equine studies, she had other plans. “I was planning on going to college and playing volleyball,” said Thacker, who originally wasn’t planning on attending Emory & Henry, rather Virginia Intermont. Thacker continued, “I discovered Virginia Intermont and their Equestrian program and decided it was the perfect fit.”
Things took a turn for the worse though for Thacker after her first year, as Virginia Intermont shutdown after 130 years due to financial failure. Thacker wasn’t discouraged though, as she knew what she would do once she found out Emory & Henry would take over the Equestrian program, “When they [E&H] took over the program, it was an easy choice to transfer with it.” According to gowasps.com, Thacker is listed in both the IDA and IHSA roster. For IDA, Thacker’s level is Lower Training and for the IHSA, Thacker‘s level is Intermediate Over Fences, Novice Flat.
During her time at Emory & Henry, Thacker has seen major improvements and thanks the program at Emory & Henry. Thacker continued by saying that she believes that Emory & Henry definitely has one of the best Equestrian programs in the country. When asked why, Thacker explained, “Honestly, it’s just such an incredibly well rounded program. Several schools in the U.S. have specific equine programs, such as training, teaching, nutrition, etc. Here at Emory & Henry, the program includes
everything you could think of in the equine industry. It’s such a solid combination of business, prevet, and riding.”
Thacker would continue her praise of the program by talking about the horses. “The horses are great and considering the fact that we get them all as donations or on loan, it’s pretty incredible to say we’ve had horses that were in the Olympics or Rolex, or just had a very successful showing career before they were donated.”
Thacker already knows what her plans are when she graduates from Emory & Henry, “I’m aiming to work for a couple professionals after I graduate and get my name out there in the industry. Ideally, I’d love to be able to open my own barn in my hometown eventually, and teach kids and adults how to ride and handle horses.”
When Thacker leaves Emory & Henry, she’ll remember her time here. “I couldn’t have picked a better program personally.”
Thacker will next compete on Sat. Oct. 14 at Virginia Tech.