Oct. 25, 2010 – Q&A with Hailey Thornton
Question: The Western team is off to a 2-1 start… what is it that has the team riding so well?
“I think we have a very strong team. Honestly, I think we’re a 3-0 team and I don’t think we deserved to lose to Georgia on Saturday. We have a strong team, and I believe that will help us bounce back as we get ready to go to Kansas State this weekend. This year we are doing a better job of helping one another with correcting mistakes during practice. With everyone pitching in to help each other to make the team better, I think it’s going to benefit us as we continue to improve this season.”
Question: The Gamecocks compete twice on the road during the fall, but then compete seven times during the spring. What will the challenge be to finding success on the road this season?
“It’s going to be a very challenging schedule for us. We’ll be competing against some great teams and some great riders. At practice, it will be important that we prepare for the different scenarios that we could face. There’s a lot of uncertainty being the road team since we don’t know which horse we’re going to ride, so if we’re able to come in with a game plan, and be relaxed during the competitions, we have the potential to be very successful.”
Question: The Western team finished third at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in April… what will it take for the team to be successful again?
“We are going to need a lot of team confidence and the drive to fight for our wins. What made us so successful last year was that we didn’t over-analyze our rides, and we just went out there and performed like we were capable of.”
Question: Who is your best friend on the team?
“Chloe Gray – We have a special bond. We know how to read one another like books. We have both had situations where one of us has been down, and we’ve always been there for one another. She’s been a great teammate and an even better friend. She was there for me when my grandmother passed away and she helped me through that tough time.”
Question: Do you have any goals for the team this season?
“Winning SEC’s at home would be a huge accomplishment. We came so close my freshman year, but we lost on a tie-breaker. Auburn and Georgia are both really good teams, so it would be nice to be at home and be able to win our conference championship. And beating both of them at home this season would also be a huge momentum boost for us as we get ready to prepare for Nationals.”
Question: What is your nickname on the team?
“Bon” – Katie Grossnickle and I use to have a game with one another where we called each other names commonly used by older people. The more random the name was, the better the joke was and the harder we’d laugh. So my senior year of high school after I signed with South Carolina, coach Ruth Sorrel called with a question and Katie told her to call me Bonnie… So, I emailed her a couple of days later, and I signed the letter “To Bonny from Clyde”… and since then, coach Sorrel has called me Bon. Fortunately, nobody on the team noticed that until last year, but now everyone has picked up on it, so it’s not a secret anymore.”