My last blog post was about trying something new or something you love when you get to college, so for the rest of the semester I plan on writing about new and interesting clubs and activities every student should try or at least know about. One thing I’ve noticed from several incoming students is an interest in equestrian, or for those unfamiliar with the sport, horseback riding. SUNY Oswego happens to have an equestrian club that gives students of all skill levels the chance to take lesson and compete. I had the chance to sit down with the Equestrian Club’s treasurer Elena Sanchez Freeman to talk about all the great things the Equestrian team has been up to and how to get involved.
What awards have you won recently?
As a team, we were regional champions against Cazenovia, Syracuse, Geneseo for Western riding. And then regionals, we had team makers also make it individually. In semifinals our team got third place, and the top three teams make it nationals. So as a team we made it to nationals!
I know there are two different kinds of riding. What are they?
There’s Western and English. Western, to put it simply, is with what most people call a cowboy saddle with the horn in front. English is the one with the jockey saddle. And so, there’s different terminology for each one. English is for when you’re doing flat competition, or just like a walk, jog, or canter (trot).
How much experience do you need to join?
You don’t need any experience. We’ve had beginners that have never sat on a horse before who have made it all the nationals individually. We will work with anyone. It’s not gender specific either. There are boys on the team too.
What’s the format for practices and lessons?
The lessons are paid per semester. It’s how much you pay for and you can take as many or as few lessons as you want. They normally cost about $25 a lesson and are anywhere from a half hour to an hour which is a really good deal considering how much lessons normally cost. It’s cheaper because we are a club funded through S.A. You normally have to block off two hours of your day to make it to the barn and we carpool so you don’t have to worry about getting to the barn and back. The barn is in Scriba so it’s about a ten minute drive off campus. We do offer jumping for the English and reigning for Western if you are at that level.
Any cool places you go to?
Oh yeah. One of the big trips at the beginning of the fall semester is Congress, which is one of the biggest horse shows in the country that’s in Ohio. We carpooled down there as a team. If you help fundraise you barely have to pay for anything. A lot of people didn’t have to pay for anything except meals when we got down there. We have a formal at the end of second semester, we’ve gone laser tagging and everyone is welcome to come to the shows even if they aren’t riding. We always need the help.
It’s a lot of fun and we’re growing. And for anyone who doesn’t want to compete, you don’t have to show if you don’t want to. Some people just want to ride. A lot of people ride at home and miss it so they just come to take lessons and are part of the club. We’re a big family.
For anyone interested in joining the Equestrian Club or for more information, feel free to contact Elena at firstname.lastname@example.org.