Club equestrian team starts seasonBy Alana Norris | 09/10/2014 12:54am
The University of Alabama club equestrian team will begin its largest travel schedule in history when it heads to Delaware State University in two weeks. CW File
“Last year’s season was a great success for the Alabama Equestrian Team,” coach Heather McCall said. “We hosted our first home event with 10 schools from Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia in attendance and had about 250 spectators. We won the event over all 10 schools, which is the first time in the young program’s history that has been achieved.”
Elizabeth Allen, a senior majoring in civil engineering, and Avery Warner, a senior majoring in marketing, are captains of the varsity team. Tryouts ended this week with 40 students showing interest in filling the five available spots.
“This year’s season is a little different than last season because we added an NCAA team. We have the club shows, and we also have the varsity shows,” Warner said.
Team members typically have two hour-long workouts at the gym each week. They also ride two to three days a week for an hour each day.
“We have about nine horses that we use,” Allen said. “They are leased and owned by the team. When you are at shows, you draw random horses. If we were practicing on our own horses, it would be a lot more difficult to get on a random horse at a horse show. In practice we ride different horses every day, so we can get used to riding different horses at shows.”’
McCall said she takes pride in teaching the team to take the confidence, communication and mental strength under pressure they use while controlling a horse and use it in the real world. She said she wants the student-athletes to bond over lessons that come from working on a team sharing the same drive, motive, ambition and goals.
“My team members really come from so many different backgrounds and areas of riding and horsemanship, it really creates a well-rounded and diverse program,” she said. “The club sport equestrian team offers competition of all levels, so my team is comprised of riders with limited experience, to riders that have competed nationally and even internationally. That gives such a diverse background where I believe each team member can learn and grow from one another, not to mention myself included.”