By Katy Shenk
Elm Staff Writer
Washington College’s Equestrian Club rounded out their spring break by participating in an age-old equestrian tradition: a fox hunt. The event took place on Sunday, March 18.
According to Club Advisor Jamie Frees, the event is actually referred to as a “foxchase,” as the fox remains unharmed throughout the event. The chase took place at WC’s River and Field Campus from 11a.m.-2p.m., and was followed by a tailgate from 2-4p.m.
The Equestrian Club is the non-competitive aspect of the Equestrian Team at WC, but all members of the team are automatically club members as well.
“As an entire club we do community service, general horse-related activities, and meetings every other week,” said club president Rachel Terry.
Terry is also on of the foxchase sub-committee, along with fellow officer and Club Treasurer Emma O’Donnell.
“At the moment, we do not have any non-competing members, which is probably why the lines between ‘club’ and ‘team’ have become so blurry,” Terry said.
In its fourth year, the foxchase is a popular event among the club and the larger Kent County area, according to Terry. Riders bring their own horses, and hounds are supplied by the Elkridge Harford Hunt Club.
For approximately three hours, riders followed the hounds through the landscape surrounding the River and Field Campus. Although the chase begins and ends at the Campus, riders trail the hounds wherever the scent of the foxes may lead.
Non-riders known as “hill-toppers” follow the horses in trucks. This year, some hill-toppers had the opportunity to travel in a mule-drawn carriage.
“It is a beautiful and unique way to see all of Chino Farms, now called the River and Field campus,” Terry said.
Following the chase, riders and hill-toppers participated in a small reception, which included food and drinks, raffles, and socializing with the other non-Equestrian Club riders. Some WC Equestrian Club alumni attended the chase and shared their experiences during their time in the club.
Tickets were required for the event, as it serves as the club’s primary fundraiser.
“Currently, as a club sport, the goal is to make the sport available to all levels of riders at an affordable price,” Frees said.
“While we do collect club dues, as the team grows, this fundraiser is an important opportunity to raise additional funds to keep riding affordable for all students at WC who have an interest in trying out equestrian activities,” she said.
The cost of the event doesn’t deter club members from participating.
“Since I first attended my freshman year, the coolest change has been that more of our members are actually riding at this event. Our advisor set up a new program where [WC Equestrian Team] members can be ‘sponsored,’ and then they are able to participate in this really unique experience as well,” Terry said.
Freshman Bella Procopio experienced her first foxchase as part of the team.
“It was really cool getting to hilltop and follow the hunt, especially since some of my teammates got to ride in it. I had fun spending the day with my team,” she said.