Kristen Terebesi. If you follow USC’s equestrian team, you might recognize the name. Terebesi discovered her passion for horses early and has been turning heads as an equestrian competitor for as long as she can remember.
“I pretty much grew up on a horse,” she says. “It’s kind of one of those things that’s in your blood.”
And she only got better. A three-time MVP at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships, USC’s Women’s Female Athlete of the Year, Women’s Equestrian player of the year and a two-time national champion, she took the reins and didn’t let go.
“Sport inherently prepares you to achieve the next goal,” Terebesi says.
But the former student athlete and current associate head coach also had something else in her saddlebag: a knack for storytelling.
After completing a degree in advertising in 2008, Terebesi stayed on for a fifth year and earned a second degree in visual communications.
“I had found this avenue of creativity, design and photography,” she says.
Terebesi wasn’t done with competitive riding — she competed professionally for a few years — but eventually she hit burnout. That’s when she joined The Book, a company that captures equestrian stories through photography and customized albums. She also pursued food photography with a boutique catering company in Philadelphia called Food Underground and launched her own photography and graphic design firm, A Few Fishies.
Eventually, though, she was ready to get back in the saddle.
When USC Equestrian head coach Boo Major called and offered her the role of associate head coach, she didn’t hesitate.
“I had all that time healing and exploring different avenues of who I am both professionally and personally, and one day I simply recognized I needed to get a job in the horse world again,” she says.
While her two career paths may seem a little divergent, her experiences outside the arena inform her thinking as she coaches the next generation of riders. “I see practice. I see our team. I see the years of capturing life through the lens and the catalogs and photographs in my mind,” she says. “I am able to piece together the stories and direction of the team and its culture from a place that sees it from a deeper level.”