Lander University has announced the appointment of Amy Kaplan as the next coach of the university's equestrian team. A native of Pickens, Kaplan has been riding horses since the age of 10, bringing a wealth of equine experience as she prepares to lead the Lander team.
"The connection that people make with horses is amazing," said Kaplan. "Practically all communication between them and the rider is through body language, and it's incredible to watch riders learn more about themselves from their experiences with horses."
While earning her Bachelor of Science in Equine Business at Clemson University, Kaplan served as vice president of the Clemson Intercollegiate Eventing Team, and organized its riding clinics and fundraisers.
As a rider, Kaplan has qualified for the American Eventing Championships - the annual national championship for equestrian riding - every year since 2012, on multiple horses and at different levels. She has competed against and trained with a host of Olympic-qualifying riders.
Kaplan's immense understanding of horses and their tendencies stems from a background rich in responsibility for overseeing their care. For the renowned Full Gallop Farm in Aiken, she learned to design feeding programs; supervised rehabilitation of injured horses; solved behavioral issues; and provided training for multiple horses.
Kaplan inherits a 20-member team, and is looking to expand its numbers. "We do not have a cap on the number of team members we can have, so I'm excited to see this program grow."
Lander's equestrian team is open to all students, regardless of their academic major or horsemanship experience. While team horses are housed at the Lander Equestrian Center, the team participates in both English and Western competitions throughout the region.