By Megan Lupo
Senior philosophy major Anthony Beete has been surrounded by horses most of`his life. Although he was born and raised in New Jersey, he spent his summers on his family’s farm in Trinidad, where he watched his uncles and grandfather ride horses to town, envisioning himself on the saddle right next to them.
Although he never got a chance to ride with them because he was too young, the determination of doing what the men in his family did motivated him to join the Rider equestrian team last fall as the only male rider, when he transferred in to the school, he said.
Beete said, “I always wanted to learn to [ride a horse]. It looked fun.”
Tigger, a retired racehorse, was the horse that Beete learned to ride on, and for Beete, he turned out to be as beloved as his Winnie the Pooh namesake.
“My favorite horse would have to be Tigger. [He’s] from our main stable [in Pennington] that we do our home show. Tigger is awesome. He’s everybody’s favorite horse on the team,” Beete said. “They call him Tigger because he’s really springy to ride. It’s fun though.”
Throughout Beete’s time on the team, he bonded with a multitude of horses during shows, as each stable that hosts a competition assigns random horses to each rider, Beete said. It’s a difficult task to gain the horse’s trust, but Beete lets the horse guide him, instead of forcing any direction.
At 30 years old, this is Beete’s first year competing in Western riding, which consists of being judged on how well the rider can walk or jog the horse while maintaining a straightened posture, according to Beete. Last year, he did English riding, which was more focused on jumping fences.
His first Western riding horse show allowed him to show off his newly-learned skills, which he said was “nerve-wracking” yet “fun,” at the Buffalo Valley Riding Club in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania on Sept. 29.
Beete said he hoped to be a cowboy in the future and is surprised that more men don’t have the same desire as him.
“I’m the only guy on the team, and it’s weird because I thought it would be cool for people to join and want to be a cowboy,” Beete said, referencing it’s traditionally masculine history. “In equestrian horse riding of the collegiate level, it’s mostly girls. In Olympic level, it’s mostly guys. I have no clue why.”
Sophomore elementary education major and member of the Equestrian team Valentine Ro said he adds “gender diversity” to the team.
Although Beete inspires to be self-sufficient and own a farm later in his life, horseback riding is not his only talent and career he wants to explore.
Beete also has a neuroscience degree from Rutgers University, a math degree from Raritan Valley Community College, an automotive degree from Somerset County Technical Institute and a culinary arts degree from the New York Culinary Institute.
According to Beete, after graduating from Rider in Spring 2019, he plans on going to Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons to become a surgeon.
“I want to work for a big hospital, and then I’m just going to do it for free. You shouldn’t charge people to live. My dad told me that ‘you do things that you love, and you don’t do it for the money,’” Beete said. “So I just want to do it for people that are sick because that’s the whole point of becoming a doctor. You just do it for people that need help.”
His wide array of majors and aspirations are impressive to grad student Jelani Walker.
Walker said, “He’s a polymath,[which was a term] used in the 1600s. Basically, [it’s] a person who’s masterful in different areas, and I get that impression from him. He’s doing all these things. He’s a well traveled person. He’s been to different parts of the world at only the age of 30.”
Whether Beete is competing in horse shows or at a chapter meeting for his fraternity Theta Chi, he displays his passion for keeping busy.
“Getting involved in all these different things, it just teaches you different things [and] opens your eyes, broadens your horizons,” Beete said. “It makes you a better person because you’re not close-minded about anything.”
The Rider University Equestrian team will host their home show on Nov. 3 at Briarwood Farm in Ringoes, New Jersey. The show will begin at 9 a.m.
Published in 10/24/18 edition.