Equestrian Team starts fresh

The UW-Platteville Equestrian Team kicks-off their 2014-2015 season completely fresh with new captains, a new trainer and a new facility.



Submitted photo The Hunt Seat team practices at their new facility, River Ridge Riding Stables in Potosi, IA, under the training of Stephanie Field.

With the start of a new academic year, students have the opportunity to join campus clubs and organizations.  One such organization is the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Equestrian Club. Established fall of 2013, with the help from the Club was the Equestrian Team, which currently has 19 team members.

This organization is not only for those who enjoy horses, but with the new team it accommodates those who would like to take their horseback riding skills to the competitive level.

Members of this year’s team registered with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) starting at the end of the summer and throughout the beginning of this fall.  The shows offer a range of difficulty levels from beginner to advance, which allows more people to be on the team.

One of the new changes to this year’s team is that they have moved to their new barn, River Ridge Riding Stables, which has more lesson horses available to use as well as horses that are able to jump for those members who are in over fences classes.

According to River Ridge’s website, the facilities feature an indoor arena, heated barn, bathroom and lounge.  The team has also acquired a new trainer.  Their trainer works with the two groups to help each individual’s riding ability grow as well as prepare them for their upcoming competitions.

“We have a new coach this year, Stephanie Field, from River Ridge Stables in Potosi who is super awesome,” Shannon Wilson, sophomore and sustainable renewable energy systems major said.

Time with their trainer is focused on techniques such as, keeping the rider’s legs in the correct position, as well as keeping their hands still while riding.  In addition to these techniques, the team works on leg and core strength by doing work without their stirrups, which also helps their balance.

“We try to meet weekly for practice, and we have broken it up into different difficulty groups so that our trainer can focus on each class separately,” Morgan Fertig, junior biology major said.

Another new change is they now have captains for both their Hunt Seat and Western teams. Junior agriculture business major Rachel Peters, is the Western captain and junior media studies major Mathea Durica, is the Hunt Seat and overall captain for the teams.

According to the IHSA website, UW-Platteville’s team is currently in zone seven, region four.  This puts the team in competition with schools from Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

“I’m really excited to have this opportunity to experience new horses and meet other equestrians! I love the team and I can’t wait to have a great season with all of them,” sophomore agriculture business major Mary Francque said.

Competitions for the team begin October 4 at the Hoofer Equestrian Center, which is hosted by the UW-Madison Equestrian Team.

On occasion, school teammates may compete against one another depending on their category placement.

The way the competitions work is that all of the horse’s names, along with the letter that denotes which subgroup the horse is in, are placed on a popsicle stick and put into a hat. The coaches then draw for their team members, and riders get their horse by random.

They keep the competition groups small so that they do not have too many horses in the arena at one time.  How you place in your class determines the number of points you are awarded.  Once a certain number of points are acquired, an individual can move up to the next class.

The equestrian team has utilized their Facebook page to communicate with other members, former members and other IHSA members from around the country.

Their Facebook page also allows them to assist anyone who may have questions about their horse, where to board their horse nearby or even someone who may be trying to sell horse-related items.

You can see the UW-Platteville Equestrian Club on October 11 as they take part in each year’s homecoming parade. The Equestrian Team however will be away at Milwaukee at a show that weekend.

You can request to join the Club by finding them on PioneerLink or by searching for their Facebook Page, Equestrian Club UW-Platteville.