THE NEXT RIDE: Sydney Smith
May 1, 2017
With the 2016-17 season now complete, it’s time for the Gamecocks to bid farewell to nine incredible seniors who have each impacted the Carolina program in their own special way. But for these nine women, the end of their collegiate careers marks the beginning of a new journey, where each of them will make their mark on the world. GamecocksOnline.com is proud to present The Next Ride, spotlighting each senior’s time at Carolina and looking ahead to the next chapter of their lives. Today’s Q&A features Sydney Smith.
Graduation Date, Degree, Major
May 2017 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Bachelors of Science ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Business Administration and Management/Marketing
What was your hardest class at Carolina?
The hardest class I took was either Operations management (MGSC 395) or Organization management (MGMT 374)
How did you pick your major?
When I came in, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, but I knew how good the business school was, so I figured that was a good place to start. I found my intro level management classes interesting, so I decided on management initially. Then, again when I took my intro level marketing classes, I found them interesting as well. I also figured that both management and marketing would be helpful degrees to have as I look forward to after graduation. Being able to manage people will always be something that is helpful.
How did the Carolina Equestrian family help you during your academic career?
Having access to the Dodie gave me numerous opportunities to help with my academic career. I had access to tutors that helped me with classes and advisors that helped me figure out what classes to take and how to proceed through college. The team also helped me to remain organized and keep up with time commitments. While I was constantly busy with team stuff, in my free time I would work on class work and studying.
How did the Carolina Equestrian family help with your post-college career?
The team helped me with managing a lot of things on my plate. I was never too overwhelmed with the team and classes; I have gained an ability to compartmentalize my life to be able to focus on finishing one thing before moving onto another.
What competition will you remember most from your time as a Carolina Equestrian student-athlete?
The two most memorable competitions from my time here would be SECs in 2014 and Nationals 2015. We won SECs in 2014 after initially being told we had lost to Georgia. I remember distinctly Coach Boo asking us all to meet behind the house and having no idea what was going on. That was when she announced to us that there had been a calculation error and we had actually won; thinking back, I still get chills. My other most memorable competition was Nationals in 2015. Just like 2014 SECs, it came down to us and Georgia in the final round. Before I competed, I remember being so nervous, and all I wanted was to be successful and help the team win. I ended up winning my point, and I remember some of my teammates running up to me afterwards and hugging me as if I had personally won the meet for us. Reining went on to close out the victory for us, with all the rest of us celebrating and cheering in the stands. Almost all of us were crying and hugging each other in the stands. Nationals 2015 will go down as my favorite memory from my college experience.
What’s the one phrase you’ll remember most from your coaches?
One thing Boo says to us all the time is, “it is what it is.” But specifically to me, after I competed for the first time ever on the flat, which was at SECs in 2016, Boo said to me, “I didn’t know your position could look that good!”
What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I am going to continue to ride horses for the near future. For the summer, I am going to remain an amateur rider, and then some time in the fall I will transition into a professional. Once I become a professional, I plan to work under my mom at Cedar Brook Farm helping her train and ride horses, as well as teach students. I plan to do this for a few years; possibly working with other barns in the industry to feel it out and see if it is what I want to do as a career. Being a professional in the horse industry involves very long days and a lot of hard work with few days off.
What’s your advice for young riders interested in joining the Carolina Equestrian program?
With regards to the team in general, it is very important to be very open-minded. For a lot of us, it is our first time on a team since elementary or middle school, which can be a challenge, since riding is such an individual sport. One of the most helpful things for me when I started competing was visualization. And not just visualizing myself doing the course/pattern on a random horse, I would visualize myself doing it on my equitation horse, Calimero, whom I consider myself the most comfortable on. I would picture myself doing the course/pattern very successfully and then try to emulate it when I competed.