While equestrian may be considered a club sport at HWS, the level of competition says otherwise. In fact, the HWS Equestrian team is a part of the prestigious Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Showing against top colleges such as Cornell, RIT and Hamilton, the Colleges’ equestrian team is located in the IHSA’s Zone 2, Region 1, and does extremely well in competition.
With a farm less than 10 miles from campus, there are ample opportunities for novice riders to quickly improve their skills. Riders on the equestrian team are able to go hacking, or riding alone, when the team is not showing or meeting for lessons. Each semester schedule also includes four team lessons at the stable of Coach Sarah Barge ’02 in Rochester. Lessons provide riders with feedback from both teammates and coaches, and prepare all riders – beginner and experts alike – for shows.
“The IHSA program was designed so that everybody is able to ride,” says Charlie Levin ’11, who, along with Alison Reindel ’12, is a captain for the team. “You don’t need experience. It brings riders together – from those who have never ridden before to those at the top level of riding.”
To further promote equality amongst riders, at competition each rider is assigned a random horse by the host school. While the rider is expected to be able to ride safely without injury to the horse, there is no preferential treatment for advanced riders. The idea of riding an assigned horse may seem like a strange concept, however, it is one of the greatest advantages of being a part of the IHSA.
“It’s not about how fancy your horse is, it’s about rider ability,” explains Levin. “It levels the playing field. It’s nice because I grew up not having the fanciest horse. It doesn’t matter what horse you have – it shows that you can ride.”
The equestrian team is not only a place for highly successful competition and training, it is also a place where deep friendships are formed. “Besides riding, we try to get together for dinner or ice cream once every few weeks,” explains Reindel. “We’re just a close-knit and supportive group of individuals who love horseback riding.”
Students interested in joining the Equestrian Club should direct all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.