PLAINVILLE - Plainville graduate Hannah Lennon had limited options when choosing a college to continue her participation in the sport of equestrian. With just 22 colleges and universities offering the sport, the options were limited. But Lennon was still able to find the perfect fit.
Lennon will continue her athletic career at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. Stonehill is one six schools that plays in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association, which is Division II.
“Stonehill really just has it all,” Lennon said. “It’s not only a great learning environment but it’s 20 minutes from Boston, which is awesome. So that’s internship opportunities and they have a really great study abroad program, because I’ve always wanted to go to London, and then they have a really good equestrian team. They’ve gone to nationals multiple years.”
Equestrian has been part of Lennon’s life for as far back as she can remember.
“I started riding when I was really little,” Lennon said. “My aunt lives in New Jersey and she manages barns. Every summer I would go down and I would learn to ride.”
It was in the sixth grade when Lennon started taking horseback riding lessons regularly, and later, in her junior year of high school, Lennon decided to join the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) team.
In her first year on the team, she was a Junior Varsity Beginner Flat competitor, and her senior year she was Junior Varsity Navis Fences and Flat competitor. Flat is horse racing on a level course, which tests speed, stamina and the jockey’s ability to restrain or impel the horse. Fences and Flat is a more advanced level, adding jumping obstacles to the course.
When Lennon realized she wanted to continue riding in college she joined the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), which tests a rider’s skills even further.
“Every school rides at a barn,” Lennon said. “They use the lesson horses at that barn and your names are all pulled out of a hat for your class. You’re then assigned randomly to a horse. You get on that horse cold and just compete randomly on that horse in your class. So it basically evaluates you as a rider and how you can handle any horse thrown at you.”
That experience led Lennon to Stonehill, which is known for its equestrian team. This past season, there were six members of the Stonehill College equestrian program that qualified for the IHSA Zone 1 Region 4 Championships. Out of those six, three advanced to the Zone 1 Championships.
Lennon is hoping to continue that trend with her own riding at Stonehill.
But Lennon isn’t all about horse riding, as she puts a lot of focus on her studies as well. While at Stonehill, she will be majoring in communications and political science. Lennon finds media, especially social media, fascinating, while political science offers her the chance to help people.
“The easiest way to help people is to get into politics,” Lennon said.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org