Bulldog Breakdown: Catching up with Fresno State women's equestrian team

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's finally starting to sound a bit closer to normal at the practice area for the Fresno State women's equestrian team, and it couldn't come soon enough for Bailey Alexander and her teammates.

"Everybody has been itching to get back on the back of a horse," she said.

She's going into her second year on the team, which had its season cut short last season by the pandemic. In 2020, their first season in the Big 12 conference was a historic one. The program ranked as high as 4th in the nation.

Catch up on all the week's Fresno State sports news on "Bulldog Breakdown" every Sunday at 5 pm on ABC30.

The Fresno State women's equestrian team features 33 student-athletes competing in four different events on horseback. With the entire sport happening on the back of a horse, there's no shortage of challenges.

"It's very challenging compared to where other sports has a ball or a bat or equipment like that," she said. "Ours is a breathing animal, living animal."
For sixth-year head coach Eric Hubbard, another challenge is getting people to give his sport and his team's success the recognition they deserve.

"We get that question so often about what is equestrian and how does it work, what do you do, where are your horses," he said.

The team is back at practice now, preparing for their season-opener on February 6th, and enjoying a brand new office and locker room building right next to their horse stalls.
After growing up around horses herself, Alexander was an All-American last year and the Big 12 Reining Rider of the Year.

"There's something about riding with a 1,200 pound animal," she said. "It is just that much more exciting and your adrenaline just pumps that much more because you never know what you're going to get from the animal that day or even yourself."

After the team's successful 2020 season that was cut short, Alexander and the rest of the team are looking to pick up where they left off.

"I think it's really, you know, made people look at us differently and made us respect us, and I'm really proud of it," she said. "I'm really looking forward to proving that again this year."

Catch up on all the week's Fresno State sports news on "Bulldog Breakdown" every Sunday at 5 pm on ABC30.
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