The Academic Equestrian: Finals Week

Haley’s pushing through finals week of her spring semester, and draws a few parallels between muddling through her exams and riding a horsemanship pattern.
This photo is from a trail ride during which Cricket somehow unbridled himself so that he could graze, which kind of set the tone for finals week in that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do and I'm mildly stressed. Photo by Ellie Woznica.

This photo is from a trail ride during which Cricket somehow unbridled himself so that he could graze, which kind of set the tone for finals week in that I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do and I’m mildly stressed. Photo by Ellie Woznica.

Finals week is upon us, and as the week draws to a close I can look back on my tests and all the anxiety with some humor. (Even though I do still have one test on Saturday. Who gives tests on a Saturday?!)

I’ve started to look at final exams like I do horsemanship patterns, but with less excitement and more nerves, and instead of a ribbon I hope for a passing grade. I study for both tests and horsemanship patterns, but both are more successful if I’ve been practicing consistently instead of cramming right before. Below are some steps, pattern-style, to get through a final exam.

  1. Enter at a jog because, let’s face it, you’re probably late.
  2. Halt in the doorway long enough to ensure that you are in the correct classroom.
  3. Nod at the professor, proceed at a walk.
  4. Perform a square corner at a desk row of your choosing.
  5. Step over book bags and other obstacles until you reach your selected desk.
  6. Place book bag on ground, turn 90 degrees on the haunches, and sit down.
  7. Remove working pen or pencil from your bag. Penalty points may be given if this step is skipped.
  8. Open test booklet and perform any and all maneuvers as directed.
  9. When finished, stand and turn 90 degrees in the opposite direction. Walk to professor without hitting students, book bags, or desks.
  10. Hand in test, hesitate to demonstrate completion, then exit at an extended lope.

Crying and laughing are permitted once a distance of at least 25 feet between student and classroom has been attained. Crying during the test can result in a steep penalty.

And now it’s time for summer vacation for me — I hope you enjoyed “riding along” for my first year of college! I’ll be back in the fall, so until then, go riding!

Haley is the author of Horse Nation’s “Academic Equestrian” series, following her collegiate experience as she balances her studies with participation on the varsity equestrian team and time with her own horse. Catch up on past columns by clicking the #ACADEMIC EQUESTRIAN tag at the top of the page!

Haley Ruffner is attending Alfred University, majoring in English and minoring in Business and Equestrian Studies. She has a green Quarter Horse, At Last an Invitation “Cricket,” and he is also “enrolled” at Alfred. She rides western and hunt seat and also loves to rein and trail ride.

Photo courtesy of Haley Ruffner.

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