By Marta Iwanek and Chelsea Pottage
Over the weekend, five of Ryerson’s equestrian team members competed in the Ontario University Equestrian Association’s (OUEA) finals. Out of the five, three team members placed in both over fences and under saddle categories. There are about 20 competitors in each category.
“To have five girls make it to finals in our first year is an accomplishment on its own,” says one of the co-captains Laura Gilligan.
Gilligan competed in over fences where competitors lead their horses over a series of jumps in a set pattern. She placed eighth in the novice category and Victoria Bailey placed sixth in the beginner category.
In under saddle, a judge evaluates participants on their leg position, upper body position and hand position based on a series of actions they make their horse perform like walking or trotting. Jacqueline Stapells placed second in the novice level.
Some of the team members worked behind the scenes to help makethe tournament possible. The team’s highest level rider Allie Hurley didn’t qualify for finals but helped warm up a horse that was donated by another Ryerson team member, Kaley Rigalof. A total of 28 horses were donated by 14 people and riders had to draw for which horse they would compete with.
The club, in its first year of existence, is not yet recognized by Ryerson Athletics, but hopes to change that next year. Not everyone competes, with some club members simply interested in learning more about the sport. Riders usually train on their own and compete together in competitions, but the team is hoping to set-up lessons in Stouffville next year.
Photo: Chelsea Pottage
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