Equestrian Team making strides

Riders of all skill levels are encouraged to join the equestrian team.

The Butler University equestrian team continues to accept new members as the team approaches its competitive season.

The equestrian team competes through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and participates in competitions with regional colleges such as Purdue University and Ball State University.

Butler riders may show and train in either western or hunt seat riding.

Junior team captain Lorraine Taylor said the team is starting the season with 13 riders.  Five of these riders train in western riding while the remaining eight riders train in hunt seat.

Taylor said western and hunt seat are very different riding styles.

“Western is like what you see in the cowboy movies,” Taylor said. “It’s very slow and quiet.  Competition is based off of who can handle the horse best and who is the most put-together.”

Julie Hudson coaches students interested in western riding in Noblesville, about 30 minutes from campus.

Butler students also have the opportunity to practice hunt seat riding.

Taylor competes in hunt seat on the equestrian team. She said hunt seat riding is what you would see in the Olympics, with large jumps and memorized jumping patterns.

Student riders take hunt seat lessons at Sierra Woods Farm in Zionsville under the direction of coach Amy Tilson.

Taylor said one of the common misconceptions about the equestrian team is that students must have riding experience to join.

The equestrian team is open to anyone, Taylor said.  Even students who have never ridden a horse can join the team and begin taking lessons.

All team members are required to take at least one lesson a month, but Taylor said many riders take more lessons than this.

Sophomore Amanda Parker and freshman Meghan Farrell are new members on the equestrian team this year.  Both students have chosen to ride western.

Parker said she has taken a few western lessons with Farrell under Hudson’s coaching.

“Julie is fantastic,” Parker said. “She is very patient, and she really tries to teach riders at the level they are at.”

While both Parker and Farrell have had riding experience, neither one has experienced a horse competition before.

“There’s no reason not to go for it,” Farrell said. “It’s a lot of fun if you’re a beginner or if you have tons of experience.”