By Margaret Hobbs
Recruitment & Retention Manager
Members of KU’s equestrian club team are preparing for Regionals, an annual horse show event, taking place March 30 at Palermo Show Stable.
Several teammates each year compete at show competitions to qualify. So far, for their Western team, Lauren Poole and Angie Pomponio will be competing, and for the English team, Ellie Melanson, the team’s vice president, qualified back in November.
“It’s the bad rides that make you a better rider,” said Melanson. “The horses that are a challenge and make you work are always the ride we remember most.”
Hard work and dedication aren’t the only things motivating teammates to qualify.
Terry Gilroy, president of the equestrian team, said, “All of our riders have achieved great success this season so far. As a team, we are very proud of our regional qualifiers every year and hope it gives them the motivation to go even further.”
With the Western team’s show season finished, their Regional qualifiers are preparing for their rides at the event. The English team, however, still has one show left for the chance to qualify for Regionals at their last seasonal show on March 17.
Aleasha Ettinger, freshman and team treasurer said, “Making it to Regionals is a big deal. It means you’ve worked hard both in your home grounds and in the show ring.”
With weekly riding lessons and meetings, multiple fundraising and community service events, such as a Chipotle fundraiser back in September, the Merchant Trick-or-Treat with the Kutztown community and their plans to do their annual Pop’s Malt Shoppe fundraiser, the team strives for not only good competitions, improvement and individual and team winnings, but also for everyone involved to have fun.
Each year, team members look forward to rewarding themselves for their accomplishments, such as their annual end of the year banquet in May.
“I believe our qualifiers focus on their individual strengths and weaknesses to perform to the best of their ability,” said Ettinger,. “But we are also keeping in mind just to have fun with it. At the end of the day the real reward is that we are all here for the love of horses and the joy we get out of the sport, and the experience and growth as a rider.”