I was 18, and Smith totally understood me. I was smart and at Smith it was ok to be smart. I was a rider and at Smith riders were athletes -- varsity athletes. It was paradise. No more playing blonde in class, hiding that I knew the answer. In fact, I had to work my tail off to keep up with my much smarter classmates. I loved it! No more having to explain that, no, the horse didn't do all the work, and no, it wasn't all about how much you could spend on a fancy show horse. We could, and did, ride any horse we drew out of that IHSA "hat." I was a team member (and later, a captain) of a D3 Varsity Sport! I loved it!
If Smith shutters its beautiful equestrian facility and demotes the team from Varsity status, the college is essentially telling me (and all other riders past, present, and future) that it no longer values my sport or even considers me an athlete. I still ride. Almost every day. I can still stick a buck, jump a fence, go for a gallop, and, yes, fall off. It is my sanity, my fitness plan, my SPORT. I'm not sure how many varsity field hockey or lacrosse players are still competing 25 years after graduating, but I know LOTS of us riders who are still competing.
I trust that the Administration wouldn't support a decision that told me my Smith academic education was no longer important or valid or useful. I hope this same Administration will not support any decision that tells me the same about my Smith varsity athletic education.
- Carla Geiersbach, Smith Class of 1990