Equation and equitation might sound similar, but they are about as different as can be. Sarah Spodek ’18 loves them both.
Spodek was a Math major who wants to use her enthusiasm for math to teach others. She was also the barn director for the Equestrian Co-operative, a four-year member of the Flute Choir, and active in theater.
“A math proof is 100 percent, it’s always true,” she says. ‘There’s no disproving it. A math proof is valid, and that’s cool. I like sharing cool things with others, so I like the idea of teaching math.”
Part of the reason Spodek chose to attend Earlham was because of its equestrian program, and as a senior, she oversaw the program’s finances as barn director.
“I was in charge of anything that requires money — ordering feed, hay, shavings, getting supplies, reimbursements, board, farrier and vet bills, keeping track of the money that comes in,” says Spodek, who began competing in the International Barrell Racing Association when she was in eighth grade.
“I had to learn a whole new riding discipline here,” she says. Earlham’s Equestrian team competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, where shows require team members to ride in an English saddle on horses they have never ridden before. Riders are judged on equitation and the team competes in five shows per academic year.
“It’s still about keeping your butt in the saddle,” she says. “Equitation is the biggest difference, or how you ride is the focus, while the goal of barrel racing is to go fast, so it’s the speed that matters. How you look and how you present yourself is just as important as how you ride in English.”
For two of her four years at Earlham, she brought her horse Tuffy to campus.
“The barn program was an interesting opportunity,” she says. “You get to really learn from each other, and you get a lot of support. You get to explore new things and push your limits as to what you can do.”