By KERRY MCCAHILL
The small town of Wellington, just 45 minutes from Lynn University, is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). During WEF, international competitions attract riders from all over the world.
For Lynn students Riley Newsome and Grant Gazzi, WEF provides riding opportunities close to campus. Gazzi, a polo player, explained that he started riding at two and competing at four. Newsome has been showing since she was 11.
Life-long involvement and dedication to the sport truly shape all of the decisions these riders make. For these student-athletes, summer is a brief reprieve where they can focus primarily on their equestrian goals.
Newsome travels the summer circuit in North America with her trainer Connor O’Regan.
“My goal for the summer is to show my eight-year-old in a few Grand Prix and also to bring up my 7-year-old and get him jumping some bigger classes,” said Newsome, sophomore. The summer circuit provides Gazzi and Newsome a break from both educational pursuits and the intense pressure of international competition. Riders often use this time to develop a horse to the next level.
“My plan for the summer is playing polo in Aspen, Colorado,” said Gazzi. “My goal for this summer is to have fun and have my string of horses performing at the best of their abilities.”
For students competing at the highest level of a sport, juggling an academic career can be difficult. Gazzi, originally from Philadelphia, said that Lynn enabled him to travel and compete in polo through flexible scheduling and make-up work options.
“Lynn University has really helped me be able to split my time between the two most important things in my life, riding and my education,” said Newsome. “If I went to another school, I [would not] be able to earn a higher education and also successfully compete at the highest level of my sport.”