The Daily Eastern News

A love and passion: Equestrian Club offers members hands-on experience with horses

Logan Raschke, Campus Reporter

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Eastern’s Equestrian Club provides members a hands-on learning experience with horses, ranging from basic grooming to competitive riding, by taking students to barn trips together every month. 

Haley Pierce, senior special education and early childhood education major and president of the Equestrian Club, said members learn how to care for horses and basic to competitive-level riding techniques. 

“(Members) really can learn anything (they) want, to be honest, because our coach knows so much information that I go out there now and I still learn things all the time,” she said. 

According to Eastern’s website, the purpose of the Equestrian Club is to “Stimulate members in horsemanship; provide members with an avenue to increase their knowledge about horses, and to provide members with an organized, structured program involving lessons and competitions in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) sanctioned events.”

While some members of the Equestrian Club compete with other schools, a majority of them do not, Pierce said.

A few members of the Equestrian Club just finished this competitive season with Pierce placing first in western pleasure style riding, she said.

The Equestrian Club hosts competitive shows in September, where members get a good opportunity to mingle and bond together while they prepare for the busy weekend, Pierce said. 

 “(The Equestrian Club likes) all of our team to come and help (with the show),” she said, “so, we have to find horses, we have to find judges, we have to get a facility which we usually get (from) the other side of Champaign, and then we have to load everything up, and travel it all the way up there and get everything ready for that show that weekend.”

Pierce said she would recommend going with members to the Toledo barn to just about anyone for the fun and interestingly therapeutic learning experience. 

“(A barn trip) is really a de-stressor; that’s really the best thing. You de-stress, you get yourself off campus (and) you forget about your life for a few hours,” she said. “(The) best thing is to go out there and ride and spend time with the horses.”

The Equestrian Club also has meetings on every first Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Casey Room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union for members to go over horse shows and business information, like fundraisers for example, Pierce said. 

Some members like to host parties and occasionally turn their meetings into celebrations, Pierce said. 

“(The Equestrian Club has) barn parties, we have Christmas parties, we have Halloween parties; we have parties when we can have a party,” she said. “We like to just get together and have a bonfire and have food, and (there are) times we have a meeting and we will just order pizza and turn it into a celebration.”

Besides creating bonds with the horses, Pierce said the people she has met along the way have left an incredibly positive impact on her, which is another reason she would recommend attending the club. 

“The friends you make (at the Equestrian Club) last a lifetime,” she said. “What I (would) say is (to) just come and try it out. You don’t have to stay, but you may never know that horses are for you.”

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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A love and passion: Equestrian Club offers members hands-on experience with horses