The Rundown

Back to Aggieland

December 2, 2011

A story in the December issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal takes Internet Editor Tara Christiansen back to Texas A&M University and pairs her with former teammate Carey Nowacek.

Carey Nowacek

In the December Journal, not only will you find Carey Nowacek’s tips on how to construct a bun, but you’ll also find step-by-step photos to help you construct your own tight bun. (Journal photo)

It seems like this year has been horse show after horse show for me, which really isn’t any different from any other year.

However, since I moved to Amarillo in May, my lineup of shows has changed quite a bit. For work (meaning Journal coverage), I was at Battle in the Saddle and the Adequan Select and AQHA world championship shows. For my own enjoyment, I made it to one reined cow horse show. Heck, I’ve even been to a rodeo or two. But there was one particular kind of equine competition that I’d been away from for a few months.

In October, I had the pleasure of making my second trip back to College Station, Texas, since my graduation from Texas A&M University in May.

My trip coincided with the Texas A&M vs. University of Georgia women’s varsity equestrian competition. And that, mainly, was the reason the trip couldn’t be beat.

Before my trip, the editorial staff at The American Quarter Horse Journal sat down to plan content for the next year. It’d be just my luck that after the meeting, I’d be struck with a moment of brilliance, but since my epiphany struck before my trip to Aggieland, I was in luck.

And here was my line of thinking behind the story: If you’re like me, you’d be amazed by the feat of architecture that goes into constructing a neat and tidy horsemanship bun.

If you’ve followed varsity equestrian, you might’ve noticed that the Texas A&M horsemanship lineup is known not only for its sharp patterns, but also its sharp look. There’s one Aggie Bun Architect in particular who stands out from the rest.

It could be the fact that she’s about a head taller than all of her teammates, but more often than not, it’s Carey Nowacek’s look and feel on a horse, plus her class and style, that make her a stand-out horsemanship rider.

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I had the privilege of calling Carey a teammate for two years, and I was elated when she said that she’d help me out with two stories.

Aside from her stellar performance for Texas A&M (the junior boasted a 29-5-2 record combined between her freshman and sophomore years), Carey has had her share of personal success and is more than qualified to lend a hand when it comes to horsemanship fashion.

At the 2010 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, Carey rode into the horsemanship finals in a solid black outfit.

Right then, jaws dropped. With that ride, Carey showed the world that, yes, it is possible to win a horsemanship world championship wearing nothing fancier than a plain, black button-down shirt. She took the same outfit to the 2010 All American Quarter Horse Congress, where she and Certify This Chex won the 14-18 horsemanship.

It was only fitting that Carey be my bun expert in “Horsemanship Essentials” in the December 2011 issue of the Journal.

In addition to doing her own horsemanship bun, which she’s carefully mastered over the years, Carey helps teammates, such as former AQHYA competitor Cassie Mantor, with their buns.

But why is a good bun so essential, you might ask?

“A tight bun just finishes off the look,” Carey says. “If you had really tight clothes, a tight shaped hat and a sloppy bun, it just doesn’t look right. Having a tight bun, tight hat and tight clothes just pulls the looks together.”

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In addition, a fitted shirt, a tight hat and a tight bun all complete a professional look that tells the judge, “I’m here, I’m ready to compete.”

In the December Journal, not only will you find Carey’s tips on how to construct a bun, but you’ll also find step-by-step photos to help you construct your own tight bun.

Carey was a joy to have as a teammate, and she was also fantastic to work with in a professional capacity.

Thank you, Carey, and all of the other Aggie horsemanship girls, for your help.

And to all of you Journal readers out there, be on the lookout for another horsemanship fashion story with Carey!