When most people think of the University of Kentucky, especially at this time of year, they think of basketball. Not so Hannibal High School senior Abbi Stoll, who on Thursday signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Kentucky, where she will pursue a degree and compete on its equestrian program.

When most people think of the University of Kentucky, especially at this time of year, they think of basketball. Not so Hannibal High School senior Abbi Stoll, who on Thursday signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Kentucky, where she will pursue a degree and compete on its equestrian program.

For Stoll, the daughter of Michelle Culp and Barry Stoll, it was love at first sight when she visited the school last year.

"I visited last June. The campus is super big and very beautiful," she said.

But it took more than a picturesque campus to land Stoll, who also considered attending Auburn University and West Texas A&M.

"I really liked their equine science and management program," she said. "With the riding team and the academics, it's really a good choice I think."

Stoll is joining a riding program that, like her, is highly competitive.

"They won the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) nationals a couple of years ago, so their riding team is pretty good," she said. "When they compete they go all over."

Stoll, who has been riding competitively since she was 8 years old, is no stranger to traveling far in order to ride competitively.

"I compete nationally," she said, noting that her next competition will be in Tulsa, Okla., in a couple of weeks.

Even to train for the hunter jumper competitions, Stoll travels to Mechlin Farm in Wright City.

 

danny.henley@courierpost.com