By Carter Anderson
Caitlin Boyle knows a thing or two about riding into the winner’s circle, not only from her junior career but in her collegiate career as well. Caitlin attends Auburn University, where she is a vital piece to a very competitive team. At the 2018 NCEA National Championships, held in Waco, Texas, Caitlin helped Auburn face the top teams in the country as they contested national titles. For the first time, the NCEA offered seven separate national titles replacing one National Championship: Flat, Fences, Reining, Horsemanship, English Overall, Western Overall and the Overall National Championship. Auburn came away with five of the seven. Caitlin plans to use her accolades from her collegiate career to help guide her team to claiming more championships.
In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between riding in college and riding outside of college?
I would say the biggest difference is being on a team. It’s a really different feeling to be riding for not even just the team, but a whole university. You have so many eyes on you and you feel a different kind of pressure, and that sometimes makes me nervous. It’s a good nervous and I tend to manage my nerves pretty well, but you feel like so many people are relying on you.
What was your highlight from the 2018 National Championship?
The highlight for me was after I won the point that clinched the National Championship, I was able to go back to the stands and be with my team and the parents and hear everyone cheering.
Did you enjoy the new structure of Nationals with the seven titles?
I do like the new format, because I feel like it gives us a lot more rides and more chances to be in the ring. It took a little getting used to after we won the overall title and then had to immediately refocus on competing in the events. That was a little difficult mentally. The new format kept everything constantly moving without many breaks, which is a good and bad thing. I liked it, because it kept you in a good rhythm the whole time.
What are your goals for the 2018–2019 season?
Our goals are to win both the Southeastern Conference Championship and the National Championship next year. When we start back up, we’ll talk with the whole team about having a mindset of winning from the beginning. It isn’t something we just focus on for post-season or in the spring semester; we have to start working for those championships as soon as we start practice.
What’s your favorite thing about riding for Auburn Equestrian?
My favorite thing is the passion that everyone has. It’s really a team of winners and that’s what I love most. No matter what anyone is doing, they want to be the best they can be at it. It is such an inspiring group of people, from the coaches to the riders, and it makes me want to be a better person and a better rider.