Out of the five Tech riders at the Murray State University horse show on Nov. 3 and 4, four placed in their classes and through it all, one person gave advice and encouragement to every rider. Alumna Rebecca Huddleston has been Tech’s equestrian team coach for 19 years.
Huddleston, or “Becky” as her students know her, majored in agriculture engineering and animal science and graduated in 2000.
“I was going to be a vet at first,” she said, “and then I was going to design barns…and then I didn’t.” Though coaching wasn’t part of her original plan, she said things worked out for the best.
Huddleston said she takes her job very seriously. Not one to sit on the sidelines, she has worked through everything from surgeries to broken bones.
“I broke my back and was coaching within four weeks,” she said. “I don’t take sick days.” She has only missed two shows in her entire coaching career.
Huddleston said consistency is her biggest challenge while coaching.
“We get a lot of people that come in, but they don’t want to, or can’t, find the time to come out and ride.”
She has learned many lessons through coaching.
“There’s many very important lessons. The first is you have to have a sense of humor, and you can’t let what other people think or do affect your path. You have a goal in mind to do whatever…and you can’t let one person…determine or waive you off that path.”
Her favorite part about the job is meeting new people.
“I get new sets (of students) every four years. I have Tech students all over the country, all over the world. I’ve had Tech kids come in, foreign exchange students from Japan, from Saudi Arabia, from Chile, literally all over the world. And my students that I’ve had go all over the country. That’s the coolest part.”
Huddleston wants students to know that the equestrian team is growing.
“We’re getting better horses in, everybody’s progressing well,” she said. “The team is doing a lot of fundraising and working to progress our agenda, which is to make the team bigger and more diverse.”
There are a wide range of riders on the equestrian team, from beginners who have never ridden a horse all the way to advanced riders.
If you would like more information about the equestrian team, you can email Rebecca Huddleston at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text her at (931)-260-7952.