Categorized | Sports

C.O.W. Equestrian club excited for Regionals

Matt Olszewski

Staff Writer

The College of Wooster Equestrian club has been a very successful club sport on campus ever since it formed in 2003 and started showing in 2004. The club has been competitive with other colleges around the region in hunter and dressage, and several riders in the club have qualified for competitions regionally, zone wise and nationally. This year, members have individually qualified for Regionals and hope to bring a win back to the College.

 Katie Ellis ’21, a member of the dressage team, was asked about what it has been like to be on the Equestrian club. “I really enjoy it, it feels familiar to me and it was one of the main factors in me choosing Wooster. It feels nice to be around people who share the same interests.” She also highlighted what she looks forward to throughout the rest of the season. “I really am excited for the shows. It’s really nice to have fun with teammates who support you and want to have fun alongside you,” said Ellis. Lastly, she talked about what her favorite memory so far as a member of the club has been. “Exhibition — the end of year show — was probably my favorite memory so far. Everyone rides at once and we and the horses are able to dance to music together. We put on our own little show and everyone contributes to one thing to make it as fun as possible.”

Additionally, Bryce Knopp ’21 a member of the hunt seat team, talked about what she is excited for in the remaining part of the year. “I’m looking forward to competing with my teammates at upcoming shows. A few of us have qualified for Regionals in the spring so I’m pretty excited to experience that,” said Knopp.

As for competitions, riders are typically judged on how correct their position is, along with how well they navigate their horse through a hunt seat course or dressage test. Riders are then awarded ribbons as they are placed first through sixth, with each place earning a set number of points. When a rider has earned 36 points, they are allowed to move up to a more advanced division. If riders compete successfully throughout the year, they have the opportunity to advance to Regionals, zone finals and Nationals. Though riding is judged individually, The IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association) and IDA (Intercollegiate Dressage Association) are very much a team activity. Every school has a point rider for each division, and only this individual’s points are considered when calculating a team’s results from a show. This allows smaller schools to compete evenly against larger schools.

Knopp also remarked on what her favorite aspect of the club is so far in the season. She mentioned that everyone gets along well and teammates are willing to go out of their way to help others. Lastly, she talked about what major goal she hopes to achieve this season. “I would love to finish in the top three as a team at an IHSA show. It would be pretty cool to do since we’re such a small team and there are schools that have large equestrian study programs where students ride or interact with horses on a daily basis,” said Knopp.

As with other club sports this year, the Equestrian club has also faced issues with funding. Dena Nashwati ’20, treasurer for the club, spoke on how they intially did not receive any money to pay coaches for their annual exhibition. 

“Every year, the student activities office asks us to put on some sort of exhibition to demonstrate what we do in the College and community,” she said.

According to Nashwati, the coaches bring all the equipment necessary to the Wayne County Fairgrounds, where the event is held. The horses also belong to the coaches. After receiving no funding, the club appealed and received the $700 (for two coaches). In the initial budget document, the Allocations Committee had not provided any reason for the denial of funds.

“We were also asked to cut the amount of shows to half. [At this stage] we’ve pretty much used up all our money already, and don’t have enough to show next semester,” she said.

The Wooster Equestrian team will be holding a fundraiser at the Wooster Chipotle on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 4-8 p.m. Online orders will not be included in the fundraiser total, so all orders must be made in-store. The supporters that eat at Chipotle must show the flyer of the fundraiser or tell the cashier they are there for the Wooster Equestrian Team.

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