Club Spotlight: Equestrian Team

Saddle up Seawolves! Sonoma State offers many different athletic clubs, but perhaps none as unique as the Equestrian team. The team was created to give all Sonoma State students a chance to participate in equestrian activities. 

One of the team’s main purposes is to promote good sportsmanship, a positive attitude, quality leadership, and team spirit in a competitive environment. 

There is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to this fascinating sport. It is one of the most interesting, yet relatively unknown of the club sports at Sonoma State. 

Each member may compete in one of the three main disciplines: Hunt Seat Equitation, Western Horsemanship, and Eventing.

Hunt Seat Equitation is one of the classic forms of English riding which is judged on the ability and the style of the rider. The riders can be judged both over fences and on the flat.

The Western Discipline involves elements of both trailing and reining, meaning the rider guides the horse through a series of circles, spins, and stops. 

The Eventing Team runs differently than Western and Hunt Seat. Riders on the Eventing Team must own or have access to their own horse for showing and may train at any approved eventing barn. 

Events are three days long and consist of one day of dressage competition, one day of stadium jumping, and one day of cross country. 

“The preschool I went to had horseback riding lessons. And that always stuck with me, and when I was in eighth grade my dad let me get riding lessons and I fell in love with it. So knowing that Sonoma State had an equestrian team was one of the reasons why I came to this school,” said eventing captain Elizabeth Grewal.

Former students Shelly Davis, Janis Lapsley and Kirbi Rogers started the Equestrian Team seven years ago. The team has grown a lot since it began but currently has 25 members on the team, some of which compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). 

The Equestrian Team typically competes every other weekend. On Oct. 6 the Sonoma State Equestrian Team hosted the first IHSA show of the year in their zone.  

The show was held at Peter Larson Training Stable and riders from Stanford, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and various other colleges competed in Reining and Western Pleasure.

“Anyone is welcome to join the SSU equestrian team. There are club members of all different skill and experience levels,” said Grewal. 

If interested there is a serious time and financial commitment if decide to be a part of the equestrian team. The team meets once a week for a full club meeting.

Riders are also required to take one lesson per week, which is taken place at Petaluma Hills Stables. It is very competitive and the athletes are required to spend at least one day in the gym training for competitions. 

If interested in more information about the Equestrian Club at SSU, or would just like to see a Seawolf ride, check out the club’s website at SSUEquestrian.com.