Morgan County native part of championship UGA Equestrian Team
By Ann Cantrell
Morgan County local, Kristy Akins, brought home a national championship win with the University of Georgia Equestrian Team.
The UGA Equestrian Team competed in Waco, Texas for the Varsity National Championship. The team placed second in western riding and third in Hunt Seat but their overall points in the different disciplines gave them the national champion title.
Akins, who competes in Western horsemanship, grew up in Morgan County and will soon graduate from the UGA.
Since she was young, her mother had her and her sister on horseback, riding with their mother.
“I was probably on the horse by the age of two or three,” said Akins.
When she was eight, she began competing and was eventually recruited to the UGA Equestrian Team.
Since her time at UGA, the Equestrian team has been undefeated at home. After securing the SEC title against Auburn and University of South Carolina this year as well, Akins said finishing off her fourth year with a national championship has been wonderful.
This win came after a couple of meets where the team came close to winning but lost by a little. These almost wins made the national championship win all the better, said Akins.
She described her time with the team as a great experience but also a very competitive one. Due to school regulations, the UGA riding team has 70 riders while only 20 riders actually show in each competition. Ultimately, the coaches decide who will ride in each competition.
“You have to be on your top game,” said Akins.
Another difficulty in riding, said Akins, was the behavior of the horse which the riders are given. With her discipline, the riders do not bring their own horses but instead pull the name of the horse they will ride, out of a hat.
“I have five minutes of preparations with that horse to kind of see what I have to work with,” said Akins.
Most of the horses for these competitions are not top quality and are often difficult to ride because they no longer want to show anymore.
Another difficulty for Kristy has been finding time to ride and also time to focus on her school work. Each week there is 20 hours training and the workouts were often at 6 a.m. in the morning.
In addition to this training, Kristy said she had to spend a lot of time and effort riding on her own. Without this extra time, she said there will be no real results.
While Akins life may slow down after graduation, she still plans to continue to ride. At her home in Rutledge, she plans to ride her five horses and eventually show in the future. In January of next year, Kristy plans to get married.