Refreshed from last year’s successful season, the equestrian team is back and ready to compete. However, besides the fact that some of the squad’s members are now alumni there is something else that has changed in the team’s composition. After being coached by Chris Mitchell for the past 13 years, the team has now been handed over to Todd Karn. Karn comes to the squad with a strong showing background. In fact, he still competes today. This past summer Karn showed in a hunter classic in Vermont as well as in HITS, a horse show in Saugerties. In addition, Karn continues to judge horse shows.
“We like that he knows what a judge is looking for,” said senior tri-captain Emily Kowalchik. “He’s from the area and knows the schools well … he knows what it’s going to take to get us [to nationals].”
“The experience he has will be good for our team,” senior tri-captain Zofia Hilton said. “His judging background will help.”
The season does not start until the end of October — when the team will travel to Rochester to compete in a show against RIT — so practice has not quite begun. Still, Karn has already stepped into his new role.
“He’s already become very involved,” Hilton said.
“He reorganized things [and] came in with a fresh perspective,” said Kowalchik. “He’s very enthusiastic.”
“He’s going to bring the team to the next level,” added senior tri-captain Emily Webster. “He really wants to be here.”
Karn said that he was drawn to Cornell because it was an opportunity to work with younger people again. Before accepting the position as head coach, he managed a training barn in Cazenovia which he will continue to do part time. In coaching the team, Karn hopes to brush up on the riders’ basic skills. According to Kowalchik, he does not plan to undo anything that former coach Chris Mitchell has done.
“Todd has an appreciation for what Chris built,” she said. “We’re not going to lose any ground.”
Karn’s ultimate goal is to take the team to a national title. The squad also has the same thing in mind.
“Our goals are the same,” said Kowalchik.
So far, the team has received their new coach well.
“Everyone thinks highly of him,” Hilton said. “He’s going to be a great coach.”
Karn is equally enthusiastic about leading the squad.
“I’m excited to be here,” he said.”
The new season will bring new challenges along with it. After a nearly undefeated season, a regional champion title, a Cacchione cup rider, and two riders at nationals, the team has a long way to go in order to become even more successful than it was before. Karn hopes that the team will be a competitive force this season as well.
“He’s a dream to work with,” Webster said.
Original Author: Ariel Cooper