By Jan Westmark Bauer
Portraits by Isabel J. Kurek
Sydney Berube has been riding her entire life, thanks to her mother who had a passion for horses and passed it on to her daughter. Growing up in Bedford, New Hampshire, Sydney was 4 years old when she got her first pony. “I was very fortunate to have a barn in my backyard and looked forward to riding each day after school,” Sydney said.
Now 20 and a junior at Texas Christian University (TCU), a member of the Big 12 Conference and the NCEA, in Fort Worth, Texas, Sydney said when she began looking at colleges, the aspects of TCU that really stuck out to her included the quality of the business school, the amount of support from alumni, the beautiful campus, class sizes, the coaches and the other girls she met on the team.
Sydney showed in the Big Eq and the jumpers prior to college. “I started training with Gretchen Anderson in New Boston, New Hampshire, and more recently I’ve been fortunate to ride with trainers such as Chris Kappler, Andre Digneli and Katie Prudent, who have all helped me to become a more well-rounded rider,” Sydney said. “I began riding with Andre Digneli at Heritage Farm during my last Junior year to focus more on the equitation. Andre’s program really helped me progress as a rider. He helped me throughout my recruitment process and even reached out to the coaches for me. Now I primarily train with Katie Prudent at Plain Bay Farm and compete in the jumpers.”
How did you choose TCU?
I chose TCU for many reasons. I had never been to Texas before touring TCU that first time. The moment I got on campus, I felt comfortable and safe, like the feeling you get when you are home. The student body size was another big factor for me: not too small but just big enough, like a close family; also great sports teams! All the people I have met have been friendly and welcoming. The quality of the business school was very important as well.
Do you like going to school in Texas?
I love going to school in Texas. Although I’m in a completely different environment than where I grew up in Bedford, New Hampshire, I now can’t imagine attending school anywhere else. All the buildings on campus are beautiful and most of my classes are a short distance apart or even in the same building. The past two winters I’ve been on campus we’ve even had a few snow days! Finding places to sled on campus and hanging out with friends during these days are just a few things I will always remember.
What’s your major?
I am double majoring in marketing and entrepreneurship and innovation.
What do you like about riding on the team?
I look forward to competition days with my teammates. Our team always has great energy during meet days and seeing all my teammates’ hard work pay off after weeks of practice and workouts is really rewarding. I also really enjoy cheering on the Western girls when we have a moment to spare during meet days. Although I had no Western background knowledge before coming to TCU, it’s still really fun to cheer on my teammates.
What part do you play on your school’s riding team?
I am on the hunt seat side and compete in fences and flat. We compete in equitation, which entails jumping fences. The other discipline is flat, which is riding your horse through many complex maneuvers.
What do you like the most about riding in college?
My favorite part about riding in college is my teammates. My closest friends are on the team and I’m fortunate enough to live with three of them this fall. I hope these are relationships that I will keep and cherish for my entire life.
When you visited TCU the first time, what did you think?
The first time I visited TCU I was very nervous. I had never even been to Texas before touring TCU so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everyone on campus was so nice and welcoming and even when we landed at DFW airport the people were friendly and welcoming.
What are your goals for the future?
To progress as a rider and as a student. This entails pushing myself in practice to be the best rider I can be and making the most of the quality education I have access to at TCU.
What advice would you give to others who are looking to ride in college?
The best advice I received while looking at colleges was to pick a school and atmosphere where you feel most at ease. If you are happy and comfortable, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you give yourself the best shot at success!
Photos by Isabel J. Kurek, www.isabeljkurekphotography.com