Whether it is for the competition, the love of horses, or the support of the group, the Millersville University Equestrian team is open to everyone who is interested. Team Captain and Secretary, Megan McGee,
“We welcome riders of all levels,” McGee explained, “people who have never been around a horse before, or experienced riders. We offer them an opportunity to either start, or continue their education with horses.”
The team consists of 28 members, 23 of which actually ride the horses, and 12 of those who compete against other schools. The team takes lessons from their coach, Heidi Douts, at Longshot Stables, which is less than 10 minutes away from campus.
The team sees the importance bonding as it is a regular part of their busy schedules. In addition to carpooling to the stables, the Equestrian Team also partakes in fundraisers, movie nights, game nights and frequent hangouts, outside of the stables.
“We have team bonding nights to foster a sense of community within our club, and to give our members a place to talk about horses and enjoy time together,” McGee added.
For those who want to take their equestrian training to a higher level, Coach Douts allows for them to take lessons, sometimes up to twice a week. The lessons, however, are the only part of the Equestrian team that isn’t free. For those unsure of their desire to compete, Coach Douts offers single lessons, but for those who know they are going to compete, Douts offers them a discount block of lessons for the entire semester.
While the team is made up of 28 members, those 12 who compete, make up the intercollegiate team that is a part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, or the IHSA. The team competes is about 5 different shows each semester, with teams being scored based on individual victories.
“We all ride individually, but the ribbon we are given at the end, if we place, determines a point value. We rack up our own individual points, however, the team also has a total. All of your points go towards the team’s points.”
Depending on how each individual scores, they have the opportunity to advance to regionals and eventually nationals. The team can also go, but due to Millersville’s smaller size, they have trouble keeping up with larger team’s scores.
“It’s hard for us to compete with the bigger teams, when it comes to points. We could all be winning, and we still wouldn’t have as many points as the biggest team,” said McGee, emphasizing the inequality of team sizes.
All full-time students interested in horses, or learning how to ride them, are encouraged to join the Equestrian team and will be welcomed regardless of previous experience. The Equestrian team is easy to join as they hold biweekly meetings, on Tuesdays, in McComsey, room 304. The best way to learn more about the team is to visit their website or any of their social media pages.