UM Equestrian Club saddles up for a new year

Claire Fisher brushes J.J.'s legs as he grazes on Saturday morning before the start of the UM Equestrian Club's Collegiate competition held at the Plantation Equestrian Center. Fisher is freshman and a member of UM's Equestrian Club; she's been riding since she was eight years old. Jessica Hodder//The Miami Hurricane

As the UM Equestrian Club saddles up for the New Year, it is not closing its barn doors to interested students.

The club ensures that there is a spot for any student who wants to ride. No experience is necessary to join.

“We have walk and trot riders that are beginners,” club secretary Lindsay Steidl said. “They come in never having ridden before and still show.”

This school year, the club’s competition squad is taking part in eight horse shows against other schools, including the College of Charleston and Georgia Southern University. Each university involved in competition must host one show throughout the year. The UM team hosted its horse show this past weekend.

Any interested member can join the club for a $40 fee along with a $40 charge for each individual lesson. Currently, the club consists of 35 female riders. However, membership is encouraged for all interested students regardless of gender.

Within the club, students who wish to compete can join the equestrian team. It is too late to be on the competitive team for this season, but if interested, club members ride regularly and show interest to compete. According to club officials, August team spots will open up.

The equestrian club members take lessons at Tally Ho Farm in West Kendall’s Horse Country, about seven miles west of the Coral Gables campus. Club members also volunteer throughout the year with the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), an animal rescue organization.

“Our team helps ride the SPCA horses and take care of them,” vice president Rebecca David said.

Though the volunteer opportunity is open to all in the community, it is an activity the members of the equestrian team especially value as horse advocates. The club, which was founded in 1997, has been successful in uniting UM equestrians throughout the years to ride, compete and volunteer together.

Sophomore Sari Libbin was an avid horseback rider before she came to UM. She said she only recently became aware of the equestrian club and its activities.

“I used to love riding horses before I came here,” Libbin said, “and I am definitely interested in riding with the equestrian club.”

Rachel Hyman may be contacted at rhyman@themiamihurricane.com.

MORE INFORMATION:

Other students sharing interest to join are welcome to attend meetings, held at 7 p.m. on Thursday nights at the Herbert Wellness Center on the second floor.

For questions, email the euestrian club at umet01@gmail.com.