My name is Callan Donovan, and I’m a biology major at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Before embarking on my journey to Pennsylvania for school, I grew up in Maine. I know what you’re thinking. Moose, cold and snow. Well, you would be correct.
My favorite thing to do is horseback ride. I started riding when I was about nine-years-old on this grumpy, old pony named Tiffany who had been around the block a time or two. After my first lesson, I was completely hooked. I started competing, first as a little girl who rode ponies and wore braids and ribbons in her hair and then as a “mature middle-schooler” (if there even is one) who owned her own horse and graduated to tall boots and hairnets.
My horse’s name was Gatsby—was because he sadly had to be put down due to a neurological condition when I was in high school. He was the best—a little grouchy at times, but he was good to me. People talk about the strong bond between a girl and her horse and it is so true. There are no words to describe it. He taught me so much—not just about riding, but about responsibility.
After losing Gatsby I stopped riding. First of all, because I was sad, and I had lost something that meant so much to me. Secondly, I got caught up in being a teenager. All I wanted was to be with my friends 24/7, gossip about boys and do makeovers. Looking back on it now, I wish I had really listened to my mom when she said, “You’re giving up something that you love.”
When I finally outgrew the terrible teen years, I started to realize that I missed riding. It was something that had given me so much happiness, and I had given it up. When I decided to go to Dickinson, I didn’t even know they had a team. I ended up meeting a girl on the team the summer before I started my freshman year, and she told me to give it a try. I was super terrified because I hadn’t ridden in about four years, but I did it anyway, and I am so happy I did. I completely fell in love with horseback riding all over again.
The Dickinson College Equestrian Team has become my happy place—my stress-free zone. I love being able to drive to the barn and just ride. I forget about everything else and just have fun. The team, made up of a great group of girls and one boy (shout out to Sam), is so supportive of each other, and I love being a part of that.
This blog is meant to share the stories of the fabulous team that has made Dickinson feel like home. I want to convey the successes, the adventures, the people, and the horses with not only riders on the team, but to the larger Dickinson community in general. Usually, people give me a weird confused look when I say, “I’m on the Dickinson Equestrian Team!” so I’m hoping this blog can minimize this response. Enjoy!