Your Prep Sports
SOLON – National signing day provides an opportunity for athletes to see their dreams come true.
Many high school athletes work for years with the goal of continuing their careers at the college level.
Signing a national letter of intent to turn that goal into a reality is an exciting time for any high school athlete.
In most ways Solon senior Gabby Marty is no different than any of the other prep athletes that solidified college plans on the first day of the early signing period last week.
The main difference for Marty is that her high school doesn’t offer the sport she will compete in at the college level.
That fact leads to other difference between Marty, who signed to join the equestrian program at Baylor University next fall and most other athletes signing on Wednesday.
For much of her career the thought of actually continuing her sport at the college level was nothing more than a dream.
“I guess it was just a dream,” Marty said. “I wanted to work really hard to try to accomplishment it but I never really thought I would be committing to a Division I school for equestrian. It was always just a big dream.”
Marty has always been drawn to horses.
She rode for the first time at age three and by age eight had a horse of her own.
By junior high that love for horses had turned into a full-time activity for Marty who began thinking about continuing her passion in college as an eighth grader.
“In eighth grade I visited Oklahoma State and went to a camp for equestrian there and I made the decision then that it was my goal to make it on an equestrian team,” Marty said. “I’ve just been working really hard over the past four years just to get on a team.”
Marty lives outside of Solon with her family and keeps her horses in Oxford where she trains.
That makes for a busy schedule for Marty who practices several days during the week and each weekend.
Practicing keeps Marty busy but it is her competition schedule that can get hectic.
Marty competes in equestrian events across the country throughout the year, with the brunt of her schedule coming in the summer months.
“I show year-round and there are only one or two shows in Iowa so it is mainly out of state all over the country,” Marty said. “Ohio, Oklahoma and all over.
By the time Marty was in high school years she had made up her mind to join an equestrian team in college.
The question was where.
She visited Auburn, Texas Christian, Southern Methodist, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor.
On her visit to Baylor, located in Waco, Texas, Marty knew she had found her college home.
“I really liked Auburn when I went but I never really fell in love with a place for sure but when I walked on to Baylor’s campus I was sold,” Marty said. “I said, ‘I am going here this is my home’.”
On Wednesday she signed her letter of intent, making good on a promise she made to herself in junior high.
“I really actually started thinking about it until last year when I started getting emails from colleges,” Marty said. “That’s when I said ‘this is happening. I can actually go ride for a team’. To actually have it happen is a dream come true.”