Feature Story, Student Life

March 28, 2018

Ohio Wesleyan student Sarah Sanford ’19 (front) participates in an OWU Equestrian Team western show at Wilmington College. The team began competing again this semester. (Photo by Reilly Wright ’20)

Galloping Forward

Ohio Wesleyan’s Equestrian Team Growing in Size, Prominence

By Katie Kuckelheim ’19

This Ohio Wesleyan club isn’t horsing around when it comes to offering affordable, educational fun for all students.

The Ohio Wesleyan University Equestrian Team is open to everyone – no experience required – at a price that is substantially lower than at most other Ohio universities, says Reilly Wright ’20, club co-president.

Currently, team fees are $100 per semester for 10 riding lessons. The Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA), Ohio Wesleyan’s student government, is subsidizing the cost of the lessons, which typically run about $35 per lesson per person, as well as the club’s competition costs.

The club started competing again this semester after hanging up its bridle four years ago. Since then, the equestrian club has increased its members from five to more than 30.

With the increase in membership, the team has hired Jessica Daniels of JD Show Horses in Delaware as its coach and riding instructor.

“The OWU Equestrian Team gives each member a chance to travel, meet other college students from around Ohio, and personal satisfaction when they have mastered a riding goal,” says Daniels, who began riding horses at age 3.

Members take weekly riding lessons at Daniels’ Concord Road facility, which is only a 15-minute drive from campus.

Wright says being part of the growing team is rewarding for everyone involved.

“It’s so unbelievably exciting to see how much our team has grown over just two years not only in number, but in experience, too,” says Wright, a communication major and journalism minor from Delaware. “We have so many members coming in barely having touched a horse before, and now some are telling me they want to try to compete, too!”

At the competitions, hosted by the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), students are assigned a horse they have never ridden before. They are judged on their riding techniques.

The OWU Equestrian Team competes in two different styles: Hunt seat and western. The main differences between the two involve the saddle, bridle, rider’s attire, and riding position.

The equestrian team competes against other schools in the region including The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Wilmington College, and Miami University.

At the Miami University western competition, Wright placed second in the intermediate class, while newcomer Sarah Sanford ’19 placed sixth in the beginning class.

At the Wilmington College western competition, Wright placed third in the a.m. show and first in the p.m. show. Hannah “Juniper” Deitering ’19 placed fourth in the morning show and third in the afternoon show. Sanford placed fourth in both shows.

At Ohio University’s hunt seat competition, Hannah Edelblute ’21 placed fourth.

Daniels said, “Everyone on the team and in the club has made significant progress in their riding abilities, and I am very excited for the future of the team.”

Learn more about the OWU Equestrian Team and other student clubs at www.owu.edu/student-life/clubs-organizations.