By ANNA JOHNSON
This fall, seasoned rider and new team coach Joanna Novakovic ‘03 will lead Cornell’s equestrian women, an endeavor she plans to undertake with special effort towards channeling existing team motivation and taking the Big Red to new heights.
As a four-time United States Equestrian Federation national champion, Novakovic knows a thing or two about riding. Though she is new to team coaching, the United States Hunter Jumper Association certified trainer joins the Cornell women with plenty of practice in individual coaching and plans to use this to the program’s advantage.
“I am very excited to be coaching a team for the first time. … I’ve had lots of experience coaching individual riders, but the team aspect is something I’ve always been interested in, but never had before.” Novakovic said. “This year, we’re trying a new practice format where the riders will receive more individualized instruction, and I am hoping that this will allow me to make each rider the best and most competitive they can be.”
According to Novakovic, the team already possesses dedication and motivation, and she hopes to harness and grow this existing foundation for the good of the team through tenacity and a fresh approach.
“I hope to be a strong leader for the team in the coming year and hope to bring the program to new heights through hard work and innovation,” Novakovic said. “I’ve only been with the team for a couple of weeks, but I can already see the motivation and team spirit they possess. … All of the girls are very committed to representing Cornell and to bringing home glory to the Red.”
As the team gets back in the saddle for the season to come, coach Novakovic is thinking ahead to both short-term and long-term goals and sets the bar high for the team and for herself. In addition, she strives to have the best care for the horses of the equestrian team.
“Our goal is always Nationals, but each show is an opportunity to improve and to perform at the absolute best,” Novakovic said. “I look forward to seeing the team succeed and will commit myself to not only having the best riders around, but also to having top notch horse care and development.”