Sept. 23, 2013
Strong in spirit and developing in stature, young Leopold stood elegantly in the grass, his long, blonde hair blowing in the wind, his tender neighing drawing students from their dorms to snap photos.
First seen on campus at the Sept. 4 Club Fair, the miniature horse stood guard behind the table of one of the newest groups on campus, the Equestrian Club.
“Everybody else makes snow cones and pops popcorn and has candy, and I needed a big draw, so we brought Leopold the miniature horse,” said Racquel Lintner, president of the Equestrian Club, which started this semester.
Rebecca Raven, equine professional for the club, head coach for the team and head instructor and trainer at RCA Equestrian, said she thinks being around horses can touch a person’s soul.
“No matter who came over to the table, it didn’t matter if they were 18, 17, starting college, seniors, staff, grounds crew … if they weren’t smiling before they got there, they were smiling when they left,” she said.
Lintner registered the club Sept. 18 and said she wants to get males to join.
“I started this club because I love horses and I wanted to give UCCS students the chance to enjoy equestrian activities,” she said.
The Equestrian Club also plans to turn into an equestrian team. Lintner said her goal is for the Equestrian Club to become an official team at UCCS.
“I want to be recognized. I want to compete against Stanford,” she said.
Lintner, a senior, started horseback riding lessons a year ago and owns a 3-year-old Arabian horse. Prior to that, she hadn’t been around horses for nine or 10 years, when her grandparents sold their property.
“I had to relearn everything. I’ve never had official lessons before. My experience was very minimal, just a recreation, a dream really, of wanting to be able to ride horses well,” she said.
Lintner, a psychology major, said she wants to do equine-assisted therapy when she graduates.
“When you’re out in the open away from all the city noise, stress of everyday life, you’re just brushing your horse. A horse is just a horse,” she said.
Raven agreed. “If you’re stressed or having a bad day, coming out and standing around the horses will release endorphins and relax you,” she said.
“I don’t teach horses; the horses teach me. It’s like riding a motorcycle, but the horse has a brain,” she added.
Raven, who competed in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) as an undergraduate, said her goal is to have a successful IHSA team.
According to the IHSA website, the organization was established in 1967 by Bob Cacchione.
“The Association was founded on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows, regardless of their financial status or riding level,” explained the site.
“I think it is one of the best programs out there because it’s not as expensive to do as some of the other sports,” Raven said.
She said that the program helps teach several leadership goals and she hopes she can combine natural horsemanship and IHSA.
Raven’s main goal for the club is to give students the opportunity to interact with horses if they’ve never been around them before.
“Owning horses in this economy is very, very expensive. Most people in college don’t have the money nor the means to keep their horse,” she said, adding that students that do own horses might miss them.
“I was raised with horses so I’ve never been without a horse, so to see people that have never had that opportunity, I think is amazing,” Raven said.
“You have to smile when you’re around horses, no matter what’s happening. Even if you fall off, you’re still smiling,” she said.