Jackrabbit Spotlight with Megan Rossiter
Megan Rossiter took over the Jackrabbit equestrian program on June 6, 2011, after spending four years at Drake Johnson Reining Horses in Wray, Colo., where she assisted in instructing riders, training and showing reining horses. She began her collegiate coaching career at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., where she helped coach the Western team, as a graduate assistant from 2001 until 2003, when she accepted a newly created assistant coaching position. During her time on staff at OSU, the Cowgirl Western squad won the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2006, and the reserve national championship in 2005.
How did you originally get involved with equestrian?
I was in DePere, Wis. I started showing show horses when I was a youth. I went to school at Murray State University in Murray, Ky. I pursued my horse passion there. I received a degree in agriculture with a concentration in equine science. From there, I went on to get a graduate degree from Oklahoma State. I studied equine nutrition there. I was also the graduate assistant coach there for two years, and then I was an assistant coach for four years. From there, I went on to do some training in the industry. I was an assistant trainer at (Drake Johnson) reigning horses in Colorado. Now I'm in Brookings, S.D.
Can you talk about your time competing at New Mexico State?
At Murray State I had the opportunity to participate in the National Student Exchange. My junior year of college I was able to go to New Mexico State and compete on their team. That's where I met Larry Sanchez, who I later worked for at Oklahoma State University. The reason I picked New Mexico State for my exchange was because they had been national champions in the IHSA the year before.
What kind of success did you have coaching as an assistant at Oklahoma State?
We had a great record at Oklahoma State. We had four national titles when I was there. One of those was a reserve national championship for competing in both the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and varsity equestrian at that time. It was a great time to be at Oklahoma State. I got a lot of experience. I watched Larry Sanchez and how he did things. I've been able to take a lot of that with me.
You left coaching for a while after that. What brought you back into coaching?
My plan was to always get back into coaching. While I was at Oklahoma State we did change formats. We had competed in IHSA, and we made the change to varsity equestrian. On the western side it changed to half reining and half horsemanship. In the IHSA it had just been heavy on the horsemanship. I had no reining background, I got back in the industry to pick up that skill set. I had to wait for a job to become available and one did in Brookings.
What should fans expect from the equestrian team?
With the change in format it's a little bit more fan friendly. I think fans will just be able to show up. We'll have a score sheet ready for them. They'll be able to understand what is going on at the meet. The scores are given right after one of the young women competes. They can keep track f who is winning and who is behind. I think in that way it's going to be more fan friendly. They'll be able to cheer more for the SDSU riders, and they'll be a little bit more involved with the meet.
Are you nervous or excited going into the first meet of the season?
Both. We had a scrimmage here at home a week and a half ago. The girls on the team really rode up. I was pleasantly surprised. It's hard to know what you have until you see them at a meet. Practice is different than an actual meet. Since this is the first year in the new format, I don't think other teams are expecting a lot from us. I think they're going to be shocked when we show up. We have some really excellent riders, and I think we're going to give them a run for their money. I'm a little nervous since this is our first one, but really I'm just excited because they're ready and doing great. I think we have a good shot.
The Jackrabbit Spotlight will pick an SDSU student-athlete or coach to interview each week. Interviews will be posted on GoJacks.com each Monday.