No time for horsing around at the Equestrian Club
By Erin Pflaumer
The University at Albany Equestrian Team has 13 members, ranging from freshmen to seniors, but for student athletes who don’t want to compete and would rather just ride for fun, there is a UAlbany Equestrian Club.
Lessons take place at Hunter Way Farm, located in Delanson, New York, 30 minutes away from campus. Team members have one-hour lessons twice a week while club members are only required to have one lesson a week.
“Flat” lessons focus on how we look during the walk, trot, and canter. Focus is placed on how our body appears and if we can keep the horse moving using our legs. “Jumping” lessons focus on our position over the jumps, checking for distances in between jumps, and thinking about the speed of our horse going over the jumps.
Horse shows take place back-to-back for several weekends, held at Skidmore College, Hartwick College and Morrisville State College. During show days, the team wakes up by 5 a.m., eats breakfast, then drives between 45 minutes to two hours to get to the college where the show will be taking place.
Normally, shows last between 10 to 12 hours, and the entire team stays until the last class to see everyone ride.
As a member of the team that’s competing at Regionals, I’m thankful for my coach and my teammates, since they made my experience being on the UAlbany Equestrian Team an amazing one.
I rode when I was younger, but stopped because I wanted to focus on my schoolwork. When I first came to UAlbany last year as a freshman, I found out about the team through MyInvolvement. During my first semester here, I joined the club, and rode twice a week for an opportunity to start showing and preparing for the spring semester. I officially joined the team last spring semester and have been showing since (showing refers to competing.)
Riding on the team has become one of my biggest passions in college not only because I love horseback riding, but also because the team and our coach provides a great support system. There will be times when we have a bad lesson or don’t do well in our class at the show, but because of the team’s encouragement and support, I brush it off and aim to do better next time.
“It’s so exciting to watch everyone grow and become a better rider as the seasons go on,” said co-captain Ally Herald, “I’m proud of the bond we have as a team, how we’re a family and how I now have a bunch of sisters I can turn to for anything.”