Equestrian has a solid start to their season

The RWU equestrian team placed second in their show on Oct. 16, 2021. This was their first show since March 2020 right before the shutdown.

Gwen Sieber, junior tri-captain, came in second place for her class this weekend.

Sieber said the team felt nervous but excited going into the show and that having a whole year off made the show more nerve-wracking for them in the beginning.

“I think that it went really well for us having only a short amount of practice,” said Sieber.

They started practice three to four weeks ago and most people on the team only got three to four rides prior to this first show, depending on their schedules.

Their fall season is shorter than they have previously seen. In the past, their typical schedule involved participating in shows every weekend from September to November. For the team’s season this year, they are only able to compete in four shows this fall. Sieber said the reason behind this shortened season is that many teams lost their funding during COVID.

Depending on the school there is a range in the number of participants on an equestrian team. The teams are typically made up of anywhere between 10 to high 20s in the number of students, said Sieber.

“Our show was really short this weekend because I think we have such a lack of other teams,” said Sieber.

She said while shows typically run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, this past weekend it ended around 12:30 p.m. Sieber said in every show for each class there are often 10 to 12 horses that compete but this was also significantly different this past weekend as there were only four to eight horses per class.

A common occurrence in this sport is for participants to steer off course while riding, including during shows. Sieber said thankfully, this past weekend none of the team’s participants went off the course in the show. Staying on course can be a challenge because the players only have a short amount of time to learn a course before a race makes this a challenge they often face.

The team’s goal this season is to go to zones, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). To reach this goal the team will need to place first at the end of this fall season to go to their Zones competition held in the Spring. There they will face other teams that place first in IHSA from all the different regions.

They have recently added a new assistant coach that started this week, Kristen Briggs. Sieber said she is well renowned for riding in the New England area.

The equestrian team’s next show is at home with a Halloween theme on Oct. 30.