Ibby Rodgers is a sophomore animal science major and captain of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Equestrian team located on East Campus. Rodgers has been riding horses ever since she was three years old, and has competed in events since she was eight. She competes in hunt seat horseback riding for the team, which is a forward seat riding commonly found in North America that is judged based on the rider's body form and the horse's movement when walking and performing jumps.
 
At the time these photos were taken, Rodgers was training for a regional competition in Colorado.
 
Horseback Riding Photo No. 1

Ibby Rodgers and her horse, Lily, enter the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rodgers is a sophomore animal science major and the captain of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Equestrian team.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 2

Ibby Rodgers puts on her helmet before beginning practice inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rodgers competes in hunt seat horseback riding, a style of forward seat riding commonly found in North America.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 3

Ibby Rodgers warms Lily up before jumping inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rodgers has been around horses since she was three years old. "I just drove past a horse barn one day and was like 'That looks like fun' and my parents signed me up."

Horseback Riding Photo No. 4

Ibby Rodgers and Lily pose for a portrait inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. "I’m a very competitive person,"Rodgers said. She said she recognizes her competitive nature as her greatest streak. "Competition drives me to keep going and grow as a rider. It translates to everyday life in ways most people wouldn’t understand. Being a leader, being organized and communicating with the people around you."

Horseback Riding Photo No. 5

Lily stares at her rider, Ibby Rodgers, inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. According to Rodgers, having a mutual trust between horse and rider is critical to success. "You have to trust the animal underneath you one-hundred percent or they’re not going to trust you back," Rodgers said. "They have such sensitive tendencies that they know exactly what you’re feeling."

Horseback Riding Photo No. 6

Ibby Rodgers pets Lily inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. For Rodgers, spending as much time as she can with Lily is the best way to build trust with each other. "Showing them that you’re taking care of them will give them a sense of calmness and trust," Rodgers said.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 7

Ibby Rodgers and Lily leap over a fence inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rodgers credits joining the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Equestrian team as a major place of growth for her as a rider. "It broke me down and made me rebuild back into a better rider than I was before," Rodgers said. "I am more adaptable now."

Horseback Riding Photo No. 8

Ibby Rodgers and Lily leap over a fence inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rodgers credits her work ethic for her success in hunt seat horseback riding. "You don’t have to have talent to compete in the sport," Rodgers said. "But if you are able to work hard and grow the talent you have and make it into something, that’s what’s going to put you ahead of the people who came here with talent and decided not to work hard for it and just settled."

Horseback Riding Photo No. 9

A Husker Equestrian pad is placed underneath a saddle on Lily during her and Ibby Rodger’s practice inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 10

Ibby Rodgers takes wraps off of Lily’s legs after finishing practice inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. "Being around a horse is what builds up your relationship with them," Rodgers said. "Getting them ready, brushing them, and tacking them up. Its the smaller things that you wouldn’t think matter matter."

Horseback Riding Photo No. 11

Two entrees of Ibby Rodger’s journal, dated "February 20th" and "February 21st," are photographed inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rodgers writes in her journal after every practice, noting things to improve on, metaphors from coaches and motivational phrases that put her in a good headspace. "If I’m confident I know my horse is going to be confident," Rogers said.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 12

Ibby Rodgers hugs Lily after finishing practice inside the R.B. Warren Arena on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 13

Ibby Rodgers takes Lily back to her barn after finishing a practice session on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 14

Ibby Rodgers takes Lily back to her barn after finishing a practice session on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Horseback Riding Photo No. 15

Ibby Rodgers walks out of a barn on The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus on Friday, March 6, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rodgers has developed confidence in her abilities while on the equestrian team and has grown into a leader for the group. “If you’re a confident person and you know how to lead a team you’re going to be able to lead a horse,” Rodgers said.

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Ibby Rodgers along with the Nebraska Hunt Seat Equestrian team heard the news that their regional show was canceled due to COVID-19 while driving to the event located in Colorado. The next day it was announced that the rest of the season would be canceled with no plans of rescheduling.

"It was quite a shock," Rodgers said. "You’d think it wasn’t just because so many other things were getting canceled at the time, like March Madness and the MLB and all this stuff but it didn’t really become real until it happened to our team."

With the season over and classes moving online, Rodgers moved back to her home in Iowa that weekend. Rodger’s horse, Lily, was moved from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus on April 10th to re-join Rodgers in Iowa. Rodgers' plan now is to get Lily back into riding shape after nearly a month off of training.

"First we’re going to get back in shape so that’s just a lot of strengthening rides, not particularly technical but rather just getting her back into the groove of things," Rodgers said.

Rodgers and Lily continue to train as often as possible from home to be prepared for the next season starting in the fall.