Some athletes kick a ball up and down a field; some dive into a pool and swim laps against components; others, such as those in the UR Equestrian Club, ride horses, competing against other colleges and universities to demonstrate a variety of skills before judges.

Founded on the principle of providing UR students with the opportunity to participate in horseback lessons, the Equestrian Club has evolved today into a group of over 30 members who share a passion for horseback riding.

Each week, the club travels about 25 minutes to Way Farm where students of different levels of experience take riding lessons. In each one-hour group lesson, anywhere between four and five students practice among students of different skill levels.

While there are some students who have never rode horses, there are others who work to train for Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competitions against other colleges in the area.
To ride with the team, students pay a fee of $170 to cover expenses for the semester. Like the weekly lessons, anyone is eligible to compete against other schools, aiming to gain enough points to qualify for both regional and national competitions.

“It’s called ‘pointing out,” Equestrian club member and freshman Jen Selland said. “If you point out [over the course of the year], you qualify for regionals, and if you continue to perform well, you can eventually qualify for nationals.”

UR Equestrian has been steadily improving.

“Each year we get closer to first in the region. This past year, [freshman] Olivia Quatela, [sophomore] Lillye Anderson, and I qualified and competed at regionals,” president of the Equestrian Club and sophomore Bonnie Ball said. “This was a great accomplishment for the team and for us all individually.”

For Ball, riding has always been a part of her life. Having been horseback riding since age four, Ball gets a “home away from home experience [through the club]. The barn is somewhere where I grew up, so it’s nice to continue to ride each week and also advance my riding skills.”

Despite Ball’s extensive experience riding and competing, many join the club to experience something they have never done before.

“For participation in the club, we have had an overwhelming response of people who would like to be members. Currently, we have 39 members taking lessons once a week. Out of that, approximately eight of those members are a part of the show team,” Ball said.

As evidenced by the large amount of club members not competing at the intercollegiate level, there are an overwhelming amount of members who attend lessons because they simply enjoy horseback riding.

In the mayhem of each busy week at UR, the Equestrian Club is an outlet for many to enjoy either a favored pastime or to explore something they have not before.

As Ball claims, “I am able to get an hour work-out and I also am able to forget all the stresses of school,” she said.

Lerner is a member of

the class of 2016.

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