Equestrian Club prepares for a competitive year

2 October 2018

Robert Ryan

[email protected]

    After a competitive freshman year, new club president Samantha Simonton is ready to see how the club progresses and competes during the upcoming regular season.

    “I’m really competitive, so I’m looking forward to the competition,” says Simonton. “It’s a great opportunity for me to become an even better rider.”

    This year, the club will compete in seven regular season Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competitions, earning points along the way to hopefully qualify for the post-season regional competition.

    “It’s very difficult to make regionals in just one year,” says Simonton. “You accumulate points based on standings, with first place getting seven points and last place getting one point, but 36 are needed for regionals. You have to compete really well in all seven competitions to make it in one year.”

    The top two riders at the regional competition also qualify for the national tournament in California. Points transition from one year to the next, giving riders the ability to accumulate their 36 points over multiple years and compete at the regional tournament.

    Riders are separated into different levels of competition based on experience and ability to allow competition between riders of similar skill levels.

    “There are Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels,” says Simonton. “A test decided which division you will be placed in, the divisions let those who are new to riding gain more experience or create more competition for more experienced riders.”

    Horse riding is known for the expenses that often go into it, especially the cost of a horse and its welfare. Potential club members do not need to own a horse in order to be a member of the Equestrian Club.

    “You don’t need to own a horse or to have prior experience with horse riding,” says Simonton. “Horses are provided by our trainer, and riders will have them assigned before competition. Riders help groom and take care of the horses that they are assigned.”

    The club has seen growth over the last few years and is always welcoming to new potential members.

    “It has opened my eyes to meeting new people, making new friends and just general networking within the community,” says Simonton. “It also pushes you to become even better. I’ve had competitions in which I finished last even though I felt I had done much better, but came back and then won the next competition. It puts you in a competitive environment where you can improve yourself.”

    Students interested in joining the club are encouraged to contact Simonton and find more information on the Mountain Lion Connect website.

    “Even if you haven’t ridden before, this is a great environment to learn and have a good time,” says Simonton.

    The entry fee for potential members is $150, which covers costs of competitions, traveling arrangements for the team as well as a sweatshirt. Students may direct their questions, comments, and/or concerns to Simonton at [email protected].