Where Are They Now?

The Where Are They Now section of the NCEA website was created to connect former NCEA riders with current and future student athletes. Former NCEA collegiate equestrian student-athletes have gone on to have success in a wide variety of careers both within equestrian and in many other industries. Whether it is an individual’s curiosity about what team life is like or what they will be able to do once they graduate, this page is there to answer those questions. See below for a look at what former NCEA student-athletes are doing today. If you have updates to this page, please contact the editor at communications@collegiateequestrian.com.

Katsy Leeman 

Hi, I am Katsy Leeman. I am from Massillon, Ohio. Horses have been a part of my life since before birth. I competed at Auburn in the horsemanship and reining from 2011-2015.  

Q. What was your first step towards getting a job out of college?

Making connections while still in college so that I could line things up. Knowing where you want to work and getting there are different processes. I always had an idea but when I was in my last semester I realized there was a lot of things I needed to line up. I started by talking to people who I would be working with to figure out how they got in. 

Q. Where are you currently working?

Leeman Farm and part time at Brewster Dairy. I’ve been successfully showing but will be hanging up the chaps for a while to go make cheese.

Q. What is your best memory from your time as a collegiate equestrian? 

Any number of the bus rides because something always went wrong expanded the trip by a few hours or more. I feel like most of my rock solid friendships came from the many long bus rides.

Q. What advice could you give to those on collegiate teams now? 

Enjoy it while you’re there but always be planning your next move for when you finally graduate.

Q. In what ways did equestrian prepare you for the “real” world? 

It taught me how to deal with many people of different mindsets who weren’t always open to negotiation. 

Q. Did you find the change from individual to team sport difficult when becoming a collegiate equestrian? 

No many of the girls on the teams are the ones you have competed against your whole show career. So, finally teaming up with them adds an exciting new dynamic to horse shows. It’s fun to cheer them on and really want them to win, not just take second place.

Taylor Gillette 

Hi, I am Taylor Gillette. I went to school at TCU in Fort Worth, TX. I moved around a lot - born in Belgium, but spent most of my time growing up in Palos Verdes, CA. Before college, I competed in all around events at American Quarter Horse Association shows. I competed in horsemanship on the TCU Women's Equestrian Team. I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Marketing and minor in French. 

Q. What was your first step towards getting a job out of college?

Networking! Friends, teammates, alumni, events - you never know who you might meet and what their story is. 

Q. Where are you currently working?

Textron Leadership Development Program in Human Resources (one year at Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth, TX and now at Textron Specialized Vehicles in Augusta, GA).

Q. Are you still involved in equestrian?

Not as much as I'd like to be! 

Q. What is your best memory from your time as a collegiate equestrian?

Funny enough my best memory is my very first memory during my first workout as a walk on – it was tough for most girls on the team. I remember thinking, “I bet these girls don’t think I’m going to last.”

Q. What advice could you give to those on collegiate teams now?

Make sure you are representing your team and school the way you would want them to represent you. Go out of your way to make younger girls coming in every year feel welcome and embrace your team even though there are early mornings and long days. Keep it up and maintain your passion – going to work for 8 hour days will seem like a breeze once you graduate. ☺ 

Q. In what ways did equestrian prepare you for the “real” world?

Working closely and communicating with people from different backgrounds with different perspectives has immensely helped me prepare for the “real” world. My time on the team also developed my patience and adaptability in situations out of my control. 

Q. Did you find the change from individual to team sport difficult when becoming a collegiate equestrian?

It was difficult in that I no longer knew I was riding my own horse I know and love at that shows I go to every year. Believe it or not, I am not necessarily a competitive person – I showed and did my best every time, worked to be better than the time before that, and knew that was all I could do. Being on the team was great because it allowed me to continue riding (something I would not have been able to do as much without the team) and discover great teammates along the way!

Viviana Dunlap (Viviana Cordero)

Hi. I am Viviana Dunlap. I attended Texas A&M University and was part of the Hunter Seat side of the team. I agreed with a Bachelor’s in Animal Science and a Master’s in Equine Reproduction.

Q. What was your first step towards getting a job out of college?

I did an internship at a Thoroughbred farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and was asked to stay on as a full-time employee when the internship was over. 

Q. Where are you currently working?

United States Equestrian Federation in Lexington, KY.

Q. Are you still involved in equestrian? 

Very much so! USEF is the founding organization of equestrian sport and responsible for the United States’equestrian Olympic teams.

Q. What is your best memory from your time as a collegiate equestrian? 

Oddly enough, the bus rides to and from competitions far away. Nothing like bonding with your team mates at all hours of the night. 

Q. What advice could you give to those on collegiate teams now? 

Cherish every moment as a student-athlete – it goes by faster than you think! The opportunities and the exposure student-athletes receive are invaluable for your future.

Q. In what ways did equestrian prepare you for the “real” world? 

Two things: responsibility and commitment. You are responsible for the well-being and safety of your horse, and quite literally, your lives are in each other’s hands. Equestrian sport also teaches you commitment to your team, as you transition from an individually-based sport to a team environment.

Q. Did you find the change from individual to team sport difficult when becoming a collegiate equestrian? 

It is certainly not easy, but it provides the perfect stage for true athletes to shine – the ones that can take the added pressure and still perform.

Lindsey Quisenberry 

Hi! I am Lindsey Quisenberry. I’m actually an “Army Brat” so I moved a lot, attended 4 high schools and lived out of the country a few times. It’s hard for me to claim any one place. I graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Sports Management. 

Q. What discipline did you compete in? 

Hunter Seat, mainly equitation on the flat

Q. What was your first step towards getting a job out of college? 

Getting an internship in Colorado Springs the summer before I graduated and doing as much as I could to build a good resume

Q. Where are you currently working? 

Texas A&M, I’m the Director of Operations for the Equestrian Team 

Q. Are you still involved in equestrian? 

Yes, through work but unfortunately I don’t ride much anymore.  

Q. What is your best memory from your time as a collegiate equestrian? 

My senior year when we made it to the Championship round at Nationals. The hunt seat team was such a tight nit group and we’d worked so hard all year long, and typically at A&M the hunt seat group wasn’t thought of as being a strong team, so it was amazing to see it pay off at the end of my senior year even though we didn’t ultimately win the championship. 

Q. What advice could you give to those on collegiate teams now?

Enjoy it! What I remember most is all of the fun times, traveling, and hanging out with my teammates. The points and the rides don’t stick out as much as those times do.

Q. In what ways did equestrian prepare you for the “real” world? 

Time management. You’re really busy and figuring out how to balance your time while in school and on the team it definitely sets you up for success later in life. 

Q. Did you find the change from individual to team sport difficult when becoming a collegiate equestrian? 

I think it can be hard for some but I personally loved it! I did a lot of sports growing up so to be able to combine the team atmosphere with the sport I loved most was amazing. 

Former NCEA collegiate equestrian student-athletes still involved within the NCEA:

Laura Brainard (Texas A&M), Assistant Equestrian Coach, Georgia

Jessica Braswell (Auburn), Associate Head Equestrian Coach, Auburn

Kimberly HewsonBudnik (Fresno State), Assistant Equestrian Coach, Fresno State

McKenzie Lantz (Georgia), Assistant Equestrian Coach Fresno State

Caroline Cramer (UT-Martin), Assistant Equestrian Coach, Texas A&M

Lindsey (Lawrence) Quisenberry (Texas A&M), Director of Equestrian Operations, Texas A&M

Ruth Sorrel (South Carolina), Associate Head Equestrian Coach, South Carolina

Jessica (Hensley) Steele (Kansas State), Assistant Coach, NMSU 

Samantha Etsell (Kansas State), Assistant Coach, SDSU

Ellie Wilkins (Texas A&M), Head Coach, SDSU

Kate Chesley (NMSU), Director of Ops, Kansas State

Logan Fiorentino (Georgia), Head Hunt Seat Coach, TCU

Casie (Lisabeth) Maxwell (Texas A&M), Head Coach, Kansas State