Sept. 13, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – As the South Carolina equestrian team prepares for its season opener on Sept. 23 against Fresno State, GamecocksOnline will have a Q&A with each member of this season’s freshman class. Today, we feature Western rider Sam Chiodo.
How are your first few weeks on campus going?
“I couldn’t have asked for a better first couple of weeks at college. Other than the usual, locking myself out of my room, and doing my own laundry, I am truly having the time of my life. I couldn’t be happier with all of the opportunities here!”
Now that the team is a few weeks into practice, how do you feel about the progress you are making?
“I feel great, I really love the team and how we work together. We are just a big family working together to become the best we can be.”
What is the biggest challenge for you as you adjust to the new “team-style” that exists in collegiate equestrian?
“I have found myself really struggling with this question, because I feel, that “team” aspect of collegiate equestrian is the best part. Honestly, the hardest part of my transition has been riding horses that I have never ridden before, and adjusting my style of riding to each of them in a way that a judge would favor over a competitor.”
How do you like your teammates and coaches?
“I love my teammates and the entire coaching staff. We have had many instances where we find ourselves talking about our team’s chemistry, and how it will become an advantage to us while competing.”
What made you decide to be a Gamecock?
“First, I really liked the idea of being able to still ride and compete in college, but as I looked further into becoming a part of the Gamecock family, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the idea. When I came on my official visit to USC I found that I really loved the campus and everything they have to offer here.”
Do you have any specific goals for the upcoming season?
“I am going to try to help out my teammates and coaching staff in any way that I can. Whether it’s in the ring, videotaping practices, or sweeping cobwebs off the stalls, I’m in!”
How old were you when you first started riding, and how did you first start riding (parents, friends, etc.)?
“My mother used to show on the Quarter Horse circuit, and when I was little we had horses at home. I got my first Shetland pony; Patches, for my seventh birthday and no matter how many times I fell off that little guy, I always got back on and I haven’t stopped riding since.”
How do you get prepared or pumped up before you head into the ring for a big ride?
“I like to listen to my iPod and clear out everything in my head except my horse, myself, and how I plan to get the best out of my ride.”
Outside of equestrian, do you have any other special or unique talents or sports?
“I really enjoy playing soccer, and I can wiggle my ears!”
What is your major and explain why you chose it?
“Currently I am a Business-Finance major, I chose it because I really enjoy math, working with numbers, and I hope to be a financial adviser someday.”