After earning All-America honors last season, Kari Hancock of Anchorage is showing her success with the nationally ranked Texas Christian University equestrian team was no fluke.
The junior is currently 4-1 this season in Equitation on the Flat and recently set a Big 12 Conference and National Collegiate Equestrian Association regular-season record by scoring 98 out of 100 points.
Hancock set the record on Halloween as No. 7 TCU beat South Dakota State 15-4 at Turning Point Ranch in Springtown, Texas.
She rode her favorite horse on the team, Carmeline.
“Carm is very talented but she can be difficult to ride and extremely sensitive,” Hancock told me. “Being able to connect with her and pull out a score like that is one of the most rewarding feelings. I’ve competed on her three times total, but this last weekend was the first time we really pulled everything together.”
Hancock, of South High fame, received the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) award for her record-setting ride and was also named a TCU Muscle Milk Athlete of the Week.
“I’ve really been working hard on perfecting the details, polishing up my style now that I’ve really gotten a handle on the collegiate format,” she said. “We are given a pattern the week before the match, which we have to memorize and perfect on a variety of horses at home because we never know who we will end up riding on game day.”
Having a good relationship with a horse is crucial to having a good ride.
“Essentially we have specific movements that we have to complete between set points in the ring which are marked by letters. The goal is to be accurate and smooth as possible, while still being able to direct the horse through each maneuver,” she said. “The difficulty often comes with the experience of the horse, as some have experience with the movements while other can be resistant to your direction.
“I had to make sure I was riding every stride, really listening to the feedback she was giving me, and adapt to make every movement as smooth as possible. I knew that my ride was well done, but I never expected to get a score that high. It was an amazing feeling to feel so much pride in how hard I’ve worked to reach these kinds of moments.”
Hancock carries a 3.95 GPA with a major in Biochemistry in the Honors College and a minor in Biology. She is also an NCEA Academic All-American.
“I put a lot of time and effort into both my schoolwork and the equestrian team, which is often exhausting but at the same time extremely rewarding,” she said. “The work is tough but I love what I’m doing and know it’s going to serve me well in the future.”