Students jump to new heights

The NKU Equestrian Club is making history. On Sunday, Nov. 21, the club will host two horse shows at Gatewood Arena in Dry Ridge, Ky. at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the first time in the club’s history.

Hosting a show is an Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) requirement this year. The show will host all the colleges competing in the Zone 6 division of IHSA. Besides NKU, the Zone 6 division consists of Midway College, University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, Kentucky University and the University of Louisville.

Lindsay Bosse, NKU junior and Equestrian Club president since 2008, said she is excited and a little stressed about the show.

“This is the first horse show ever to be held by NKU. It’s going to be a great experience, yet at the same time, the costs to put on a show are a bit overwhelming,” Bosse said.

The judges and the first place ribbons are the most expensive costs to host a horse show. All the horses to be use in the show are donated. At least 25 horses will be used during the show in order to switch them in and out over the course of the show to prevent the horses from getting tired. A contestant cannot enter their own horse into the competition to show because it would be considered an unfair advantage for the rider.

“Horses are just like people in that they all have their own unique personalities. If a rider gets to know a horse and what its quirks are and how it reacts to different situations, it can pose a great advantage over someone who has never ridden or even seen a horse until the morning of the competition,” Bosse said.

“I always compare riding different horses to driving cars. It’s like driving your Ford and then driving your buddy’s Chevy; yeah, it drives the same, but all the controls are in a different location,” Lynlee Foster, Equestrian Club coach, said.

In order to cover the expenses of hosting a show, the club intends to have bake sales, money donated by the Frede family and money that comes from the athletic campus recreation department. The Frede family donates to the Equestrian Club because they want to encourage more people to experience the joys of horse riding without the stress of maintaining and feeding their own horse.

The amount of money given by the athletic department is largely based on how much money the club intends to use throughout the equestrian season, how much it brings in from the show and how many participants join the club. There will also be a $50 entry fee for all riders who want to participate in the show. Spectators get in free of charge, but are encouraged to have lunch and drinks at the concession stands.

“Our goal is to just break even, profit-wise. Any money made after that is fabulous,” Foster said.

The horse show will have competitions in six English and Western divisions. The biggest difference between English and Western riding is that in English, the rider takes control of the horse’s mouth with a set of reins, and uses the reins as a way to dictate the speed and direction of the horse. In Western, a rider will use the seat and his or her weight to control the speed and direction. In each English and Western division there will be competition in riding and jumping for novice, intermediate and advanced.

NKU has 21 members on the club this year. Eighteen of the members have shown before, but for three members, this will be their first time showing. Those three members will be showing in the lowest division of the competition. In order to qualify for that division, the riders must have had at least 16 weeks of training.

“Riding is really challenging at first. At least one person falls off a horse at every show. That’s the reason for the training; to get every rider comfortable riding different horses every week, regardless of skill level,” Bosse said.

The Equestrian Club is always looking for new members. The cost is $350 per semester for lessons, a $20 club fee for active members or $40 club fee for new members. Show costs include: $30 to show in English or Western discipline or $40 for both, $15 for IHSA fee and a $25 entry fee for each show. Students can contact Bosse through NKU’s club page for more information.

“The whole goal of the Equestrian Club is to allow college students to be able to enjoy horse riding without having to worry about taking care of the horse. For some it’s a great stress reliever, a place where a student can take their minds off of classes and their job for awhile,” Bosse said.

Editorial Correction: The article mistakenly said that some funding for the equestrian club came from the athletics department. Instead, this funding comes from the Campus Recreation Center. We apologize for the error.

Story by Derick Bischoff