Former Nebraska volleyball standout owns horses and loves to ride
Most people think there are no similarities between horses and winning college volleyball teams.
But not so for former Nebraska volleyball player Lindsay Wischmeier Peterson.
The Lincoln, Neb., native played for the Huskers for four years, including 2000, when the school won its second of five national titles. And now she serves as director of operations for the Husker Volleyball program.
And she has horses. She admits, with her busy work schedule and four sons, there’s not much time to ride. But when she does, she loves it.
She got her own horse in sixth grade, and started riding in 4-H, on play days, and for pleasure around the family farm near Burchard. By the time she was in college, there wasn’t much opportunity to ride.
RETURN TO LINCOLN
After graduating from Nebraska, Peterson spent two years coaching, one in Virginia and one in Colorado, before returning to Lincoln to work with the Husker team.
“That’s one of the first things I did,” she said, when she returned to Nebraska, “was to find a place (near Lincoln) to get my horses here so I could ride more often.”
Barrel racing gives her a chance to fulfill the competitive spirit that sports used to fill. She doesn’t barrel race much, mostly at local jackpots. When the Covid pandemic slowed things down in 2020, she was able to barrel race more.
She and her husband Ty have four children ranging in age from 2 years old to 8. All four enjoy horses and riding. The family just bought a 20-year-old horse this winter, with “more whoa than go,” Peterson said, “so that I feel comfortable with my boys riding in the arena with me, while I’m riding.”
Riding and horses are a great way for her kids to build confidence. “So far, they’re liking horses and that makes my heart happy. And I can use that as my excuse to my husband, for having the horses.”
There are plenty of similarities between volleyball and horses, Peterson said. Both involve physical balance. “With horse riding, you have to have great balance and a sense of feel. That translates to the volleyball court, and movements that strengthen your core and your balance.”
Emotions are another commonality between the two. Trusting your teammates is important when playing volleyball, and the trust between a horse and rider is important, too. Not being scared of what might happen is another lesson shared by both disciplines.
“Horses can sense fear, and if you’re scared, they’re going to be scared. It’s the same with your teammates. They can sense if you’re scared. At Nebraska, there’s a lot of expectation and pressure, and it’s easy to have fear.”
Both require hard work, too. “You have to work (at riding). You can’t expect your horse to perform if you don’t ride frequently. It’s the same with volleyball. You’re not going to be able to perform if you don’t work at it.”
Recently, she sold a horse to Nebraska head volleyball coach John Cook, who knew how to ride prior to buying the animal. After watching the television series, “Yellowstone,” his desire to ride was reignited. He sometimes comes out to ride at Peterson’s place. “He’s grown to appreciate the outlet” that horse riding provides,” Peterson said.
As director of operations, Peterson is responsible for a variety of tasks at one of the winningest college volleyball programs in the nation. She handles team travel, budgeting, coordinating tournaments and camps, and assisting visiting teams. During her stint as a player for the Huskers, she was a former Husker volleyball captain and one of the greatest defensive players in school history.
With her busy work schedule and four boys, she doesn’t ride as much as she’d like to. But she has plans for retirement.
“I always joke with my husband that when I retire, instead of traveling, I’m going to get a nice trailer and load up my horses and go.”
She wants her sons to soak up the lessons that can be learned from a horse.
“There are a lot of life lessons and things you can learn in a relationship with a horse.”
Horses “are incredible animals. I really enjoy the connection that you can have with them.
“They’re an outlet for me. I find great peace getting on a horse and riding.”
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