By Carter Anderson
Gabrielle Fournier is a sophomore on the equestrian team at Delaware State University. Her journey to the school and team, however, is a story of struggle and triumph. She’s had to work for all the opportunities she’s been given. She took her first job as a working student at Halcyon Equestrian under trainer Lindsey Knight when she was only 8 years old. She learned how to work hard and be independent from a young age, and eventually caught the attention of the Hornets’ Head Coach, Jennifer Ridgely. Gabby now competes in both equitation over fences and equitation on the flat, and has earned awards such as NCEA’s Equifit Equitation Over Fences September Rider of the Month.
How would you describe the course of your junior career?
I had an equitation horse that I competed in the big eq, and I catch rode horses in the hunters and the jumpers. I became a working student at 8 years old and continued to be throughout my junior career.
Do you think that being a working student set you up for being on an equestrian team?
Most definitely! I owe everything to that experience. From the horsemanship to the mental aspect of the sport, being a working student taught me so much. I would do it all over again if I had the chance.
When did you decide you wanted to be on a collegiate equestrian team?
I didn’t really plan on being on a team in college. The opportunity happened to fall into my lap. The coach from Delaware contacted me and thought that I would be a good fit for their team. I went to visit and fell in love with the team, the campus and the format of Division I college riding. She was right. It was a really good fit.
What’s your favorite part of being a student-athlete at Delaware State University?
I hate being bored; I love how busy I am every day. I love working out with the team, the meets, and pretty much everything else about this sport. I love my team more than anything and am so grateful to be a part of it.
Do you prefer competing in fences or flat?
I definitely prefer fences. I redshirted last year due to some injuries, so this was my first year competing for DSU. The flat was a hard adjustment for me because it’s so different than what I usually do.
What are goals this year for the team?
One of my personal goals is to improve in the flat. I feel like I understand how to be successful in fences; I need to know more of what the judge wants in flat. This year the team is super strong. I’m so happy to have such talented girls as teammates. We’re currently ranked the highest we have ever been, but I think we can improve that even more this semester.