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UA team finds unity in equine workshop

Citizen Staff Writer



You can lead a horse to water . . . goes the old saying.

For the University of Arizona women’s tennis team recently it was cry, hoot, cajole and sweet-talk a hapless beast into doing a simple little trick.

“From a distance we had to guide a horse to a barricade and get it to jump it,” explained UA captain Danielle Steinberg of the interesting leadership exercise at Cortaro’s White Stallion Ranch. “We could only be vocal. We couldn’t touch him. We could surround him, follow him, anything but physically guide him.”

The equine-education workshop was held by Wisdom Horse Coaching of Minneapolis in January. Tennis team members first were allowed physical interaction with the horses by guiding them around obstacles. There is no riding.

“It was a challenge, strategy and that, how we as a team relate to each other in trying to accomplish a goal,” said freshman Natasha Marks.

The eight women got the horse close to the barricade just once. Many times “he just stood there,” said Steinberg, who lamented the frustration the players felt.

A horse is a horse, of course . . .

“They say they can read you instinctively and the aura you give,” said Steinberg, a senior. “If you have fear, they know it.”

The Wisdom philosophy is a person gives off body language that might not be what he or she wants.

A horse knows it and will respond. When the person comes closer to the right pattern, the horse responds. Horses can’t be conned.

“We failed at the goal but the process was a big success,” Steinberg said.

Assistant coach Ryan Stotland said he and head coach Vicky Maes were enlightened.

“We saw the little things the girls did which taught us not to look so much on the negative side of things,” Stotland said. ” . . . It helped teach them how to work together.”

UA (2-0) hosts Cal State Northridge at 10 a.m. Saturday, and Arizona State at 1 p.m. Sunday.

UA men’s tennis wins

The guttural screams for the University of Arizona men’s team had a happy note Friday, and the “Vamos!” of South American Andres Arango was the loudest.

Arango, from Ecuador, helped the Wildcats beat visiting South Florida 5-2.

It’s been a long journey for Arango, who went to Georgia State at first and then was the No. 2 singles player for – of all teams – Arizona State last year.

Arango, a junior, won in doubles and then racked up a 6-0, 6-4 singles victory at No. 2.

Arango fell behind 3-0 in the second set before rallying.

“Since I knew I was playing well, I knew I could get a couple of quick points and get back (in it), he said.

Arango announced his presence, emptying his vocal chords with loud yells every time he hit the ball.

“It’s a vocal game,” he said. “And for a team, you cheer and scream, do everything to let your rival know you are always there. You don’t want it to be quiet.”

Also winning in singles for UA was Ravid Hazi at No. 3, Pat Metham at No. 5 and Jason Zafiros at No. 6.

UA women’s tennis squad learns teamwork, leadership by working with horses

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