Despite a series of setbacks, the equestrian team has found several successes in their first two shows.
“It’s such a hard sport to talk about because you can’t really say an overall team goal for us because we are such a small team,” team captain Skyler Calkins ’20 said.
Equestrian is unique in that players only come together as a team during tournaments because of the practical difficulties of trailing all the horses together. Calkins said she practices four to five times a week, as much as her other sport, volleyball, permits.
“The team’s lack of players makes winning the shows outright near-impossible,” Calkins said.
Tournaments are scored based on the production of the entire team, so being at a numerical disadvantage means that the Wolverines face an uphill battle to earn a victory. In their first meet, Calkins took second, Sophia Ekstrand ’20 won both of her classes in varsity dressage and Sophie Bekins ’21 took third place in her novice equitation flat class.
The other two riders in the event, Katherine Kihiczak ’21 and Anneliese Ardizzone ’21 also performed well in the meet. Team rider Allegra Drago ’21 said that despite individual practicing, there is a sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
Drago was disqualified from the team’s first show at Hansen Dam because she was disqualified because her horse was unable to go over the jump. Drago initially rode a pony and said that her transition from a pony to a horse has been a difficult adjustment, but that she thinks a new horse will help her do better in future shows.
Bekins said the riders bond over their mutual love for horses.
“Because we all love horses and compete with our horses, I think that it kind of ties us together in a way,” Bekins said.
Kihiczak added that equestrian is unique because of all of the riders’ relationships with their horses and spoke on her relationship with her horse, West Side Story.
“There’s a relationship with the horses that is really unique,” Kihiczak said. “You can learn more about your horse and get to understand how you can ride better as you continue, not because of personal skills but because you are gaining more knowledge about your relationship with the horse.”
Because of the difficulties of winning meets with such a small team, Drago said she would encourage others to join the team in the future.
The team competes in four meets per year. Its third meet is at Hansen Dam and registration begins Jan. 14.