By Sophie Foster
Washington College students were invited to join the equestrian team for their second paper chase fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 25.
This semester’s paper chase was announced over the summer on the team’s Instagram page, and members of the team spent several weeks planning and preparing for the event.
According to the equestrian team’s English Team President and Co-Captain senior Leann Strandridge, “a paper chase is a fun event for all ages on horseback. [Participants] ride through a well-marked trail along the River and Field Campus, finding clues as they go. Points can be accumulated by answering the clues correctly and achieving optimum time.”
The event was open to riders and spectators, allowing attendees to explore the River and Field Campus in educational and interactive ways.
According to English Co-Captain team member junior Riley Murray, “the highlight of the day was being able to use the River and Field Campus and share the beauty with the public. This is a great opportunity for non-science majors on campus to see the [River and Field Campus].”
Though there was sporadic rainfall on Sunday, by and large “the weather and scenery were great,” Standridge said, adding that Team Tuckahoe Pony Club earned first place for the day, followed in second place by Autumn Grove, third place by Crazy Things, and fourth place by Clara and Debra.
Standridge wants students to know that the equestrian team — a club sport that encompasses both the club and the team — hosts meetings, events, and fundraisers. The primary difference between club members and team members, according to Standridge, is that club members have the option to ride as frequently or infrequently as they desire, while team members are required to ride weekly and compete on horseback. The team is composed of two disciplines, each with their own team: English and Western.
According to team member sophomore Emi Bernstein, the equestrian team “is entering a new era…[that] is beyond exciting.”
The executive board hosted Washington College’s first equestrian-centered Orientation Explore! program this semester, which was “a massive success,” according to Bernstein.
“We gained new teammates with previous riding experience that may not have known about the [equestrian] team otherwise, or may not have had the social confidence to join right away,” Bernstein said. “And along with them, we drew in members who had never seen a horse up close prior to the program who now get to pursue a passion they never even knew they had.”
According to Bernstein, the equestrian group is working to make the club and the team more accessible to students by planning more fundraisers and campus activities.
Murray echoed this sentiment. “The equestrian team is open to all students on campus,” she said. “We take all levels of riders from beginners to advanced.”
According to Murray, a common concern of students considering joining is whether or not they’re required to own a horse. Due to the members ride their trainers’ horses, Murray said that this is not a requirement, especially for club members who aren’t required to ride at all and can just demonstrate their interest in meeting and event attendance.
Students interested in the equestrian team can keep up with them on their Instagram page, @wacequestrianteam.
Photo courtesy of Grace Paquin
Photo Caption: Seniors Leann Standridge and Jodi Eren and visitor Izzy Roderick enjoy the paper chase.