Students Inducted as Honorary Members of Atlanta Mounted Patrol
Once a week, Katie Geddes starts her morning meandering the paths of Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta on a horse belonging to the Atlanta Police Department (APD).
Geddes is a member of Georgia Tech’s club equestrian team and, along with fellow teammates Jennifer Bateman and Alynn Lecznar, was inducted last week as an honorary member of the APD’s mounted patrol. The three women comprise the second group of inductees from Tech’s equestrian team since 2010.
“We go out and ride the horses to keep them in shape and give them exercise when they’re not being used,” said Geddes, a third-year biology major from Canton. The partnership with APD began in 2009 and has been entirely student-driven. The first group of honorary inductees came in 2010 with eight Tech women. Students receive honorary military sabers and badges at a ceremony with APD officers.
“It’s a great partnership we have. The girls are all really nice and great riders, and we really appreciate them being around,” said Kevin Cabral, an officer with the APD’s mounted patrol unit. Thirteen horses reside in the APD’s barn off Cherokee Avenue, but those not assigned to an officer spend a great deal of time in the barn without the help of Tech’s equestrian team volunteers.
The equestrian club, which has been on campus since 1995, has about 40 members, 10-20 of whom actively compete for Tech during the spring and fall. Riders travel to trainer facilities in Woodstock and Conyers for weekly practice and to schools in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina for shows. Equestrian at Tech is a club sport, but holds its own against club teams from other universities that have NCAA cohorts and academic programs related to equine studies and management.
“We do incredibly well for being Tech students and not doing this full time,” said Geddes. The team’s individual riders regularly place first, second or third in their events, with the team placing in the top half of about 15 schools in most competitions.
In addition to shows, the equestrian club organizes trail rides and campouts each semester for all members, and raises funds through an annual horse show it hosts locally each spring. Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend and volunteer at the annual event that will take place at Wills Park in Alpharetta next semester, Feb. 18–19, 2012.