By Kristen Martiniello
If you stopped a Furman student to ask about the equestrian team, chances are they would respond, “We have a team?”
Few members of the Furman campus are aware of the team. This is, in part, due to its recent resurrection.
At the beginning of the 2010 school year Lindsey Harroff started reconstructing FUET, better known as the Furman University Equestrian Team. She asked the past coach of FUET, Jodi Robertson, if she would consider training the team once more.
After securing Robertson’s agreement, Lindsey began recruiting members from Furman’s student body.
Members of FUET practice at Robertson’s stables, Foxwood Farm. The property is located just outside of Travelers Rest in Marietta, SC.
Furman members typically pay for a lesson a week for the semester but are welcomed to take after more lessons. A few members of the team also board their horses with Robertson.
Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) horse shows are unique in that riders do not compete on their own horses. Instead, the riders compete on horses provided by the host school.
All participating schools arrive at the host school’s farm very early in the morning on the day of the show. First, any new members are registered and their heights recorded. This ensures that a rider does not compete on a horse too small or large for them. With registration complete, a member of the school and the team’s trainer enter a separate room with the regional director.
Here the horses are randomly drawn for each competing rider. The idea behind the draw is to level the playing field. This way the rider’s talent will be judged rather than the talent of the horse they were able to afford.
But the selection process is nerve wracking for the riders who have no way of knowing which horse they will get.
A new member of FUET, freshman Lindsey Moser, commented about the IHSA show.
“I am very excited and nervous about the upcoming show. It is always a little scary to get on a horse you’ve never seen before, but we always have a good time,” she said.
A lot of riding depends on how well you know your horse. In IHSA shows, the rider only has one practice jump. This is all the time they are given to get to know their horse. Horses have bad days just like people. You never know what you will get. It is just the luck of the draw.
At the end of the day, IHSA shows are about having fun and learning along with your other team members.
“I really enjoy riding and competing on the equestrian team. It is a way to bond with people who share a common hobby as well as work together to prepare for upcoming shows,” said Moser.
The equestrian team is preparing for their next show where they will compete at Clemson University’s newly completed equestrian facilities on Feb. 16.