INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Kelley School of Business Indianapolis students spend summers in many different ways: internships, part-time jobs, camps and classes. Senior Cassandra Coble devotes much of her time away from the classroom on horseback, showing at equestrian competitions around the country.
“I have been showing ever since I can remember,” said the marketing major, who has over 30 plaques and trophies under her belt; a belt that’s attached to a personalized buckle she won in a national contest in Texas. “I love riding horses because it has been such a huge part of my life.”
Coble grew up on a farm in Monticello, Indiana.
“My dad is a farmer and my oldest sister Erica begged him for years for a horse,” Coble remembered. “She got her wish when she was 9 years old and we haven’t stopped since.”
Paint horses caught Coble’s eye due to their impressive, spotted colors. While she was in the process of obtaining her first horse, a white overo, blue-eyed paint horse named Jack, Coble entered a raffle contest and won a second horse named Doc. The Coble family kept these horses for over a decade.
“I showed in 4-H for 10 years and showed in the American Paint Horse Association for about four,” said Coble. “Jack and I were very successful in both. We won the State Fair three times and I received first place in Indiana APHA, 8th in the nation. When I was 15 I was able to show in Dallas, Texas.”
Horseback competitions taught Coble dedication, hard work and sacrifice.
“I was always very competitive,” she continued. “It took a lot of time and weekends because it involves so much practice. When my high school friends were out having fun on the lake I was at a horse show, competing. I did everything from running barrels to western pleasure style riding.”
Coble’s father has always said Cassie “can make horses climb trees.”
“I think it’s more about the connection you have with your horse that makes you successful,” she said. “I do well when my horse and I can communicate well, when he responds to my corrections. Horses are very smart animals. I think my past success came because Jack and I were a team.”
Cassie now rides a 9-year-old Bay named Slick who shows both western and English styles. With her horse located three hours away from school, the Kelley senior squeezes in practice when she can. This year she has competed in several shows in various states. Still, she must balance horsemanship with her business school studies.
“When I show during the school season, especially when it’s a week-long show, I try to take my books with me,” she said. “There's a lot of down time between show classes, so I can study. I try to think of horse showing as a getaway from school. If I am slammed or need a break, going to a show is a great way to get my mind away for a weekend.”
A member of Kelley’s Women and Business Club, Coble says horseback riding is currently a hobby, but she would be interested in using her business degree in the equine industry. She will graduate in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.