Ropelewski said the Equestrian Club members average six shows in the fall and four in the spring.
“This is my chill out and relaxing thing to do instead of studying,” she said.
Kensman said one of her favorite aspects of riding horses is the satisfaction of a competition when you know you’ve done well.
West said the club members work together and help each other no matter which skill level or year. She said it is a bonded group, and it is great for the perspective students to meet the older riders while they attend the series.
“There is such good sportsmanship, and we all get along,” Ropelewski said. “It’s competitive, but everyone is supportive.”
Though the riders are passionate and willing to put in the hours, there are some obstacles they must jump to be able to compete.
“We have a lot of riders who have the same ability of those at schools who compete as teams,” West said. “But our riders’ academics are much more demanding.”
West said that freshman are not allowed to join the club their first semester, because it could lead to low grades.
“Most of our riders want to go to vet school or into animal sciences, and if they start off with a low GPA because of horses, then that would be hard to get back up from,” West said.
Riders also have to pay fees when competing in a show, ranging anywhere from $50 to $1,000 per rider.
West said that is not reasonable or even possible for most college students, which can also limit them.
Ward summed up why many of the riders still work hard and dedicate most of their free time to the horses and the upkeep of the barn is to be able to work with animals at the very least.
“Being around the horses, you have a bond or connection with them,” Ropelewski said.
West posted information about the riding series on the Tech events calendar and also sent an email to 4-H members.
She said she has the most fun in the series when people who have not ridden in years get to ride again and reconnect with what they used to love.