Honors College Executive Assistant Jessica Yandow placed first in Hunter Equitation

By Lakin Stevens


Jessica Yandow, Honors College executive assistant, competed in the Winter Hunter Show at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Mocksville, North Carolina, on December 18, 2021. Yandow competed in two classes: Hunter Equitation and Pleasure Hunter, placing first and second respectively. Hunter Equitation judges the rider’s position, style, and quietness. Pleasure Hunter judges how pleasurable a horse looks to ride and it’s the rider’s job to show off the horse.

Before competing again in 2021, Yandow had taken a 14-year break from horseback riding after riding competitively until 18 years old. In 2019, she knew she was in the right place to jump back in. Yandow stated,

“What I love most about horseback riding is that I have no choice but to be present, listen and be aware of my body, all while trying to effectively communicate with a 1200+ lb animal!”

She began training and riding again in February of 2019.  The Honors College prioritizes community engagement and encourages students and staff alike to develop their personal passions and expand their experience by investing time in activities beyond the academic world. Yandow affirmed the support she has received from the Honors College she has received and shared, “Dean Vahlbusch is very supportive of my riding!”

Yandow’s commitment and success in horseback riding serve as a valuable example of the spirit of the Honors College and her individual work ethic. She described how support has been critical in making her experiences meaningful, “While I had no intentions of getting back in the show ring as an adult, the overwhelming support and encouragement from my trainer and barn family made the entire experience a happy one!”


Photo features Jessica Yandow with her first and second place awards in the Hunter Equitation and Pleasure Hunter class at the Winter Hunter Show on December 18, 2021. Yandow stands Cookie, her trainer’s horse, who she rode in her competition. Photo submitted.


To prepare for the competition, Yandow has been regularly takings weekly lessons. She also supports the barn as much as possible during the warmer months doing chores, grooming, laundry, tack cleaning, feeding, and more. Prior to the competition, she trailered the horses from Banner Elk to Mocksville to prepare them for the ride. The day before she also participated in practice lessons to prepare. After this December 2021 competition success, Yandow plans to continue to train regularly and set a goal to compete in two shows a year moving forward.

Top photo features Jessica Yandow riding Cookie, her trainer’s horse, at the Winter Hunter Show on December 18, 2021. Photo submitted.


Published: Feb 14, 2022 12:17pm