Hardin-Simmons Welcomes New Six White Horse Riders

The 2014-15 team, chosen September 16 includes six new members and two returning members.


Hardin-Simmons University’s famous Six White Horses have a new team of riders.  

The 2014-15 team, chosen September 16 through an intensive process, is composed of six new members and two returning members. The team includes:      

Alice McKinney, sophomore accounting major from Goldsboro, TX
Barbie Claussen, sophomore communication major from Kaufman, TX
Jessica Goodlett, sophomore communication major from Abilene, TX (Returning)
Kayla Pepper, sophomore public relations major from Lubbock, TX
Kristy Beam, junior accounting major from Abilene, TX (Returning)
Lauren Thurman, senior nursing major from Cedar Park, TX
Sarah Bowen, sophomore biology major from Carrollton, TX
Whittney Martin, freshman education major from Cleburne, TX

Students compete for the coveted spots through a process including both a panel interview and demonstration of horse-riding skills. Applicants are judged on showmanship, personality, and appearance.   

“This year we had 12 riders tryout and we are blessed to have such a talented group,” said Debbie Jones, director of the White Horse Program.

Jones said all of the riders chosen for this year’s team demonstrated skills that included controlling the horse with one hand while holding a flagpole and maintaining balance in the saddle. Riders can expect at least two weekly practices lasting an hour at a minimum, all in preparation for over 100 planned engagements each year.

When asked what enticed the riders to try out, each had a unique reason.   

“This is the reason why I came to Hardin-Simmons,” said Alice McKinney.  

Teammate Lauren Thurman added, “Being apart of the team and riding in my first parade has helped me fulfill one of my childhood fantasies.” 

While the team prepares for a full season of rodeos, parades and special appearances, they have not lost sight of why they are at Hardin-Simmons. 

“They have to find balance between studying and working with the team,” said Jones. “If they don’t make the grade, they don’t ride.” 

For more information on future engagements visit www.hsutx.edu or to request an appearance by the Six White Horses contact Debbie Jones, djones@hsutx.edu.    


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