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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

(Horse) Racing to the top

UNC Asheville equestrian team president qualifies for nationals

It takes weeks and months of practice to reach the level required to compete in the big leagues, requiring commitment and a dedication to the craft.

“I’ve been a member for about two and a half years now, having started right after COVID,” said Perryman Perryman, president of the UNC Asheville Equestrian Team and a qualifying member for nationals in May. 

“When I started out, I actually wasn’t sure if I wanted to join,” Perryman said. “I had seen a Blue Banner article on the team which sparked my interest, and after going out to the barn and meeting coach Julia Collins, I really got into it.”

As one of the team’s senior members, Perryman showed a lot of enthusiasm when it came to the effect the team had on their college experience.

“I really formed a sense of community in the team, and it helped push me to be confident, not just in my performance while riding, but other aspects of my life as well,” Perryman said. “It’s helped me to see mistakes not as something bad, but as a learning experience to do better.”

Qualifying for nationals in equestrianism is no easy feat, requiring a series of 1st or 2nd place wins in two qualifying meets to get a chance to attend the prestigious event.

“It included qualifying at a regular show, and then moving on to regionals. Only after I scored at least 2nd in regionals was I able to qualify for nationals,” Perryman said.

There’s more than just technical skill that goes into these kinds of events, as mastering control of one’s emotions and stabilizing your mind is a large part of what makes equitation, that is, the art and practice of horsemanship and horse riding, so challenging.

“The hardest part is probably the nervousness you get before a show, which can be debilitating sometimes,” Perryman said. “It took me several shows before I figured out how to calm my nerves. ”

Despite the initial anxiety that came with competing, Perryman’s journey with the equestrian team has not only helped them conquer their nerves, but led to unexpected friendships and connections that led to their upcoming attendance at this year’s nationals.

“I’ve already gained so much from the team, and I never thought I’d be going to nationals to compete,” Perryman said.” I’ve made so many friendships and learned so much about myself that wouldn’t have been possible before.” 

Located just over the way at Over the River Farms, the UNC Asheville Equestrian Team practices their riding and horsemanship skills under the watchful eye of Julia Collins, who started with UNC Asheville back in 2019 and has been teaching equestrianism on campus ever since. 

“I’ve created a great relationship with my coach. I love her and the animals we work with, and I hope to gain closer relationships on the team,” Perryman said. “ Just being able to have fun and still remain a place where I can decompress from life’s stresses is great.”


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