JCJC’s Katelyn Stone is Mississippi College’s first equestrian team transfer
Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2017-04-07 09:05:47
ELLISVILLE - Jones County Junior College sophomore and biology major from Hattiesburg, Katelyn Stone will be the first Junior/Community College transfer to commit to Mississippi College’s equestrian team in its history. Head coach, Mandi Powers said she is excited to have Stone join the team, which she initiated in 2007.
“We are thrilled to have Katelyn make this connection, joining the team which will help build the program. Katelyn is the first JUCO transfer to our knowledge. A large percentage of our students come from out of state so it is nice to have a transfer student from Mississippi, keeping the in-state connection,” said Powers. “MC provides an average of $15,000per student covering all travel expenses, coaching, boarding horses, etc. In most schools, this is a club sport and the student is responsible for all costs involved with competing and training. Katelyn won’t have to worry about any of that.”
Coach Powers explained Stone came to the Mississippi College Winter Prospect Clinic in December. While she has grown up with horses and western riding, she did not have a lot of experience in the English Hunt Seat.
“Katelyn made up for her lack of experience and she improved over the two-day clinic. She made a great impression on the other team members,” said Powers.
The MC equestrian team has 25 members with 15 new members joining the team in the fall. At Stone’s signing ceremony, her father, Chuck shared he is confident his daughter will quickly adjust and succeed.
“Katelyn took her first horse ride at age three and was a natural. She rode off in the field and she never looked back. She only had a bridle and rode that horse like an experienced rider. Katelyn has always been very intuitive,” said her proud father.
While Katelyn’s love for horses began at an early age, many other things like the Spanish language, art and theater have interested her over the years. Nevertheless, she is confident her career and leisure time will always involve horses. Stone’s passion for horses deepened while helping with the care of about 200 rescue horses at a farm near her Hattiesburg home. The South Jones High School graduate’s desire to rehabilitate her favorite animal also led to the idea of rehabilitating her friend. Having an inoperable brain tumor and battling depression, her friend joined Stone on the horse farm. While watching her friend Beth care for the horses, Stone realized both the horses and Beth could benefit from the interaction. Now Stone’s goal is to establish an equine therapy program in Hattiesburg. She shared being a part of the MC equestrian team brings her closer to making that dream come true.
“Being on the Mississippi College team means the world to me. I have always thought English equestrian disciplines were beautiful and wanted to participate in the sport, but I never had any idea that was an option for me. When I found out about the MC team I was moved to tears because I immediately knew where I was supposed to be. I'm so excited to learn more about riding and horse training from the excellent coaches. I can see myself taking the knowledge and experience gained from being on the team and using it towards my lifelong passion for horses and even to further my goal of horse rehabilitation,” said Stone.
The Mississippi College Riding Team competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), at a local Mississippi Hunter Jumper Association (MHJA) shows, and at regional competitions. Katelyn will compete in the IHSA individually and as a team, with 16 schools competing in the IHSA zone 5, region 2. At IHSA competitions, the team travels to and uses the horses at the host school. Team members select their horse by drawing from a hat and riders do not get to warm-up. IHSA shows are judged solely on equitation, the position of a rider and their ability to effectively communicate with the horse. The top two teams from each zone advance to nationals. MC team members are required to take two lessons per week during the academic year and the team practices weekly. In addition to lessons, team members participate in meetings, workouts and clinics with nationally renowned judges and trainers.
Other accolades Stone has been awarded recently at Jones include being selected as a Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar and the All-Mississippi Academic First Team. These honors are based on her essay and application for the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society’s Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program as part of the All-State Community College Academic Team competition held in 38 states. Stone was one of two finalists chosen from JCJC students in the fall. At JCJC, Stone also serves at the PTK Vice President of Fellowship and was chosen as JCJC’s Most Beautiful, a Tullos Scholar, Freshman Class Favorite, and she earned the Letter “J” Award.