by Elise Vondra
ROUND LAKE, IL. — Incoming USC freshman Sarah Nando walked through her stable one last time and fed her horse Juliet a carrot before leaving for the urban jungle of Los Angeles. Going to college was especially scary for Nando, who was afraid that she would not get her daily fix of horse. Luckily for her, the university’s official mascot Traveler would soon fill the void in her hay-filled heart.
Horses are not just a hobby for Nando, they are a way of life. “People don’t understand my love for horses, so I didn’t really have friends. It’s okay though, horses get me on a level humans can’t,” said Nando.
When Nando moved into her dorm, she covered the room with posters of stallions galloping through meadows, stuffed ponies, and a “What Horses Teach Us” desk calendar.
Soon after moving in, Nando found comfort in Traveler. After the first round of midterms came around, the only thing Nando talked about was Traveler. She replaced all her posters with identical posters of purebred Andalusians.
“Most girls grow out of their horse phase when they hit eight. I don’t know what happened to her,” said her roommate Alice Johnson. “I knew I was screwed when I looked her up on Facebook and all I found were professionally taken photos of her hugging some Clydesdale,” said Johnson.
“You know he is the official mascot of USC, unlike Tommy Trojan, who just stabs some grass at the beginning of the game,” Nando proclaimed, for the fifth time in the interview. “Traveler is actually athletic and gallops magically around the field.”
Every time she passes by Traveler’s statue near campus center, she gives him a quick peck on the muzzle and strokes his metal mane, wishing she could touch the real thing. At the football games, Nando wears all white and carries a horse on a stick, muttering, “God, I just want to ride him.”
At press time, Nando was seen dressed as the drum major, making out with a stuffed white horse, while “Conquest” played in the background.