By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State University sophomore Katy Krshka grew up with horses as both of her parents were trainers.
“It was second nature to me growing up,” Krshka said. “I just can’t remember the first time I rode a horse but I grew up doing that.”
Graduating from Yukon High School, Krshka knew exactly where she would fit.
“Between the coaches and girls and getting a good education, I felt (Oklahoma State) would be a good place to get an education and be part of a great team,” she said.
This season was Krshka’s first to ride with the Cowgirls’ equestrian team. Her first season couldn’t get off to a better start as she enters the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) with a 16-0 record in horsemanship and a 13-3 record in reining. The sophomore has earned 13 Most Outstanding Performer Awards. She said a little luck is involved.
“It depends a lot on the horse you have, the horse you draw, your opponent and judge you have and the pattern you lay out,” Krshka said. “Sometimes it does swing your way when it should and sometimes it doesn’t. If you work hard that’s the biggest component.”
Krshka said it’s a challenge riding a horse that she doesn’t know, adding it has gotten easier.
“You have to take it in small increments,” Krshka said. “Look at the base and foundation of how you can ride that horse to the best of your ability and not worry about what the judges are going to think or your opponent.”
Coach Larry Sanchez said Krshka is a great leader on the team.
“You watch how (Samantha Harrison and Krshka) ride in the arena and how they work in the arena, you can see they are really trying to help take this team to another level,” Sanchez said. “At times they are vocal when they need to be, but I would rather have someone that will show you how to do it right than just tell you.”
Krshka has received honors from the Big 12 as she’s been named Rider of the Month three times this season. She said it just shows how hard she works in the arena.
“A lot of hard work pays off. (Harrison and I) are blessed to have a good team that supports us,” Krshka said. “I know I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have every single one of those girls pushing me in practice to be the best you can be.”
Krshka is one of several sophomores and freshmen who are competing. Sanchez said he’s really proud of how they have stepped up.
“One of the things (my coaching staff) is most proud of is their team unity,” Sanchez said. “Having been here 14 years, the teams that are together, a unit and all of them headed in the same direction have done better at the end of the season. This team has been this way throughout the year. They are close and tight. They support each other and help each other.”
On Wednesday, Krshka and the Cowgirls will start competition in the NCEA Championships. The sophomore said it’s an amazing opportunity.
“You’re blessed to get that experience and meet the people you meet,” Krshka said. “The recognition you get is first and foremost. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience you get in these four years.”