Lauren Rice
University of Scranton

From my very first show in 2016 to the unexpectedly heartbreaking last show of my senior year in 2020, I cannot thank this organization enough for connecting the two things I love most – horses and friends. And for quite frankly merging them into so much more – family.

I want to take the time now to give a huge shoutout to the Scranton Equestrian Team and the teams of Zone 3 Region 4 who have been a staple in my college career, whether it was a supportive “we’ve got this” glance while awaiting our horse draws or a pat on the back from a competitor of another school who readily gave advice even when their round did not go as planned. I could not be the team leader I am today without this guidance.


Lauren and teammates celebrating success and friendship. Photos courtesy of Lauren Rice

In a minute or less spent in the arena, on an unfamiliar horse, I had the opportunity to challenge myself and learn lessons along the way. Most times resulting in exiting the ring with a huge smile on my face while patting the neck of the horse who I was happy to call my new buddy, followed by cheers from the team that always has my back no matter the ride.

To my current team, I want to thank you for your unrelenting training, dedication, sportsmanship and passion for the team as we each experienced our highs and lows. Being a team captain has been an absolute honor. I was proud to see each person on my team grow in unique and beautiful ways. I made lasting friendships with captains throughout the region who we could lean on each other for support.

University of Scranton IHSA Equestrian TeamUniversity of Scranton Equestrian Team. Photo courtesy of Lauren Rice

As a daring and passionate equestrian from the age of four, all I ever knew was the strength and relationship between myself and my horse. Within these last four years, I discovered through the IHSA that equestrians stand stronger as a team rather than as one. But more importantly, we are the strongest when we come together as a region and community.