Art Educator Savannah Harvey ’17 can’t wait to head off to the rodeo, barrel racing with her chestnut quarter horse, Waco.
She’s been riding since she was 7.
“I started taking lessons at a barn near me and never stopped,” she said.
Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which horse and rider attempt to complete a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time.
Savannah’s been busy student-teaching this semester, but is looking forward to getting back in the saddle. She and Waco compete on a racing circuit in New Jersey through the National Barrel Horse Association. During the season, from March to September, they try to race every other weekend.
“It’s kind of a rush for me,” she said. “I think he loves it, too, and that makes me happy and excited to see him get out and do something he loves.”
Savannah also adores teaching art to kids. She spent the spring semester as a student teacher at Linwood Elementary School in Lower Chichester Township, a Philadelphia suburb.
“I’m loving every second of it,” she said. “I feel like having art as an outlet was crucial for my education, and having students who have emotional needs, to give them an outlet is crucial.”
For Savannah, riding horses has been her other outlet. “I can be an adrenaline junkie, pushing my limits with that.”
Waco is 26 years old, fairly old for a quarter horse, but Savannah says she competes more against herself, and her goal is to try to beat her last best time.
Dressing up is part of the fun of barrel racing, and Savannah always wears red cowboy boots when she races.
“I have had a red pair of boots since I was 7,” she said. “I guess I think it’s lucky, or something.” She also dresses Waco up in red for competitions. Some riding venues have a dress code, requiring button-down shirts, cowboy hats, and belts.
Savannah spends a couple of days each week riding Waco for pleasure in the woods near the stable in Glen Mills.
“Riding is like home to me,” she said. “I get out there, and it’s my happy place. Being in that saddle is the feeling of home.”
Savannah had an interest in art from an early age, but didn’t know where she wanted to go with it.
In fact, she once considered becoming an equine chiropractor, “and then I failed every science class I took.”
“I had a high school teacher who saved me and brought me through,” she said. “I was that kid who would only sit in the art room and not go to any classes. He said, ‘If you’re going to do art, you’re not going to be a teacher, you’re actually going to go do something to make money.’ Then I didn’t listen to him, and I became a teacher.”
Savannah, one of six children, came to know Moore through her mother, Joy, who took Saturday Young Artists Workshop classes at the College.
“I took the tour and really fell in love with it, the studio spaces, the environment here,” she said.
She enjoys the sense of community in the Art Education department, and says she has thrived learning under assistant professor Amanda Newman-Godfrey.
“I could call her in the middle of the night and she would talk to me,” Savannah said. “Having that support is important to me.”