By Katherine Johnson
Rivalry has many outlets in Rider athletics, but there is one team that is certainly not horsing around when it comes to showing its competitive edge.
While the Rider University equestrian team has been on campus showing its pride with personalized jackets, many students still only have a vague concept of what it does and how often it competes. The team is composed of around 25 women, all of whom have a passion for riding horses and showing off their talent and spirit.
“I love horses and I’ve been riding my entire life,” said the team’s public relations chair, freshman Erica Krepow. “I used to have a horse, but being a theater major, it got hard to keep up with that and riding and it was just really hard to balance it all.”
The team competes in various competitions throughout the school year against teams in the same zone, which is zone three, region two.
The 12 schools in its zone include: Arcadia University, Bucks County Community College, Delaware Valley College, Franklin and Marshall College, Penn State University Berks Campus, Princeton University and Temple University. Many of these are much larger schools than Rider.
“It’s a challenge to have high scores against the bigger teams, but since our girls worked really hard, we managed to beat out two much larger schools [in the last competition],” said junior and co-captain Emily Harris. “We saw that as a huge accomplishment in our books.”
In each zone there are various levels at which a rider can compete in, from the very basic to difficult courses involving fences and other obstacles.
The experience among team members varies. Some have been riding their entire lives while others just have an interest in and dedication to learning the ins and outs of horse riding.
“I like being on the equestrian team because of the friends that I have made,” said freshman Carolynn Abrams. “I get to ride a lot more, which is a great perk.”
The team offers various leadership positions for those who wish to go above and beyond the regular standards of membership. Such positions include captain, co-captain, secretary, treasurer, co-treasurer, president of club sports and public relations chair.
Anyone can join the team as long as they have the dedication to fully participate in the team’s events. Members are required to attend one half-hour lesson each week and attend additional weekly meetings every Wednesday in Memorial 320.
The weekly lessons that members must attend are held at Buckingham Valley Farms in Pennsylvania, near New Hope. However, the horses that they practice on are not necessarily the horses that they will compete on. At each show, the farm that hosts the show loans the horses to the riders so that they do not have to bring their own.
“Riding a different horse every time is challenging,” said senior Sara Kassim, the team’s treasurer. “You are judged on how well you can equitate on a horse you have never been on before, which really tests your ability to observe how the horse moves while schooling, then get on and ride your ride.”
At the beginning of every semester a schedule is sent out to the members of the team who must then sign up for the competitions that they will be able to participate in. The competitions are held by the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), which is the largest intercollegiate equestrian association in the country.
While at competitions, the team supports every member. They watch each other compete and remain there until the last member participates to create a unified front in the eyes of the competition and to show that they are behind one another.
“We are a bunch of girls who like to hang out with each other,” Krepow said. “We ride horses, have competitions and love being around each other.”
The first competition of the semester takes place on Sunday at Delaware Valley College. All students are welcome to attend.