Equestrian team looks to recruit

Correction
In in the article “Equestrian team looks to recruit for historic team” in today’s edition of the Branding Iron, errors were made in the reporting. The coach of the equestrian team is Jessica Ford, not Kari Randall. Also, former team members Liz Webb and McCabe Jones were not on the team last year as the article states. The Branding Iron apologizes for the errors in reporting.

Courtesy: Emily Pringle
UW equestrian team president Kirsten Phillips competes in Zones in an open jump class at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colo.

Instead of using a ball to compete, members of the UW Equestrian team use horses as their means of competition and UW’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team has been doing this successfully for several years.

The sport is mentally and physically challenging and potentially dangerous because a competitor’s teammate is an animal. Riders need to have the concentration and ability to judge distance like a golfer, strength and stamina of a hockey player and the artistic flow of a gymnast. They also need to know where everyone around them is at all times while still maintaining control of a 1,000 pound animal with the help of a five-inch piece of metal.

“On an equestrian team, you enter every competition not knowing what horse you’re going to compete with since they’re always drawn at random for you,” said Emily Pringle, Vice President for the team. “You have to enter every event as prepared as you can be and hope you get the luck of the draw. Whether it’s riding in Western Pleasure, reigning, jumping, you have to be ready for anything that comes your way.”

The team this year has about 30 members; 10 are Western Team members and 15 are English Team members. Jessica Ford guides the team. The team practices twice a week and travels to many shows throughout the school year. The team also is active in working with the local horse community by offering several schooling shows throughout the year at the Hansen Teaching Arena.

“This team requires a lot of time and a lot of patience,” Pringle said. “But if you care enough about it, it’s not hard to make time in your schedule to be a part of it. It’s a fun way to get involved on campus and a great way to meet people. Plus all the equipment you ever need is already provided to you and you get to travel all around the region which always makes for some fun road trips.”

As far as current standings for the team, no one qualified for the National Championships this year. However, last year, the English Team took first place in Region 1 in Zone 7. Riders Liz Webb from Maryland qualified for the Cacchionne Cup in Lexington, Ken. while McCabe Jones competed in New York for the Region Championships.

The team currently is working on bringing more members on board in hopes of taking their success ever farther in years to come.

“I would recommend this opportunity to become part of this team to anyone any day,” Pringle said. “It’s a great learning experience for testing your patience and ambition. You also get to be a part of a team which I think is something a lot of people miss out on while they’re in college.”

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