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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Student hoofs it to national title

Student hoofs it to national title

When UA senior Auriel Overall-Isaman started riding horses at the age of 3, she could not predict that she would hold the title of the United States National Champion in Reined Cow Horse.

Majoring in veterinary science and minoring in chemistry, Overall-Isaman took on a heavy load of courses in hopes of continuing onto medical school and practicing human medicine.

“Having that course load and having a professional athletic sport is a challenge, and I have never been given time off from it. It has been very difficult,” Overall-Isaman said.

Because Overall-Isaman is not part of the UA equestrian team, the dean of students office does not grant her dean’s excuses to miss class for competitions. While most of her teachers have been willing to work with her, some have been unable to excuse her from missing class for competitions without a dean’s excuse.

“It (balancing school and riding) definitely has been a challenge that I like to work with,” Overall-Isaman said.

Her mother, Mary Jane Overall, has been her number one fan. Overall said that she is always present at her daughter’s competitions and supports her through everything Overall-Isaman does.

“It has been difficult for her to get time off. She has to negotiate everything with her teachers, and they have been very cooperative with her,” Overall said.

Often times, Overall-Isaman has to fly out to different states or even countries for competitions, or drive to Scottsdale at 3 a.m. to practice riding before class.

“It’s just a life struggle that you have to work with to survive in both worlds,” she added.

Overall-Isaman just recently came back from Tulsa, Okla., where she competed in the Arabian horse show and took the first place title in Reined Cow Horse competition. She also placed in the top 10 in Show Hack, a combination of disciplines in which horses specialize in particular maneuvers. There are different sets of maneuvers that you can be given to compete in, she said.

“You not only have to know yourself very well, but the horse that is under you,” Overall-Isaman said. “You have to know how to command it in such a way that everything is perfected.”

Overall-Isaman’s trainers — Crystal McNutt and Bob Battaglia — are some of the best trainers in the nation, she said. Glow, the horse that she competed with in the Show Hack, and Rhoadie, her other horse, helped her win the championship.

Overall-Isaman recently won the United States National Championship, and she was a two-time reserved national champion before that. She also won multiple world championship and multiple regional championship titles, as well as being a three-time Canadian national champion. Overall-Isaman has been offered a place at the World of Equestrian Games if she wants to pursue a career in riding.

Somewhere in Overall-Isaman’s busy schedule, between riding horses, winning world championships and studying, she has found time to intern with a surgeon at the UA Cancer Center. She has done surgery internships at the University of Arizona Medical Center, where she was able to go in on surgeries and in her spare time, she volunteers at a hospice.

“It is a lot to take on for a young person, between riding and her studies,” her mother said. “I tell her to take a break because it can be a stressful process.”

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