As a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), the Bucknell University Equestrian Team (BUET) competes in Zone 3, Region 1. The IHSA showing allows riders to compete on a horse they have never ridden or trained prior to entering the ring for competition. Riders are placed in a level based on ability, ranging from beginner walk/trot to open flat and open over fences. As riders accumulate more and more points from competitions, they are able to “point out” and move up the hierarchy of riding levels.
“I have been horseback riding for about 15 years now, and many of us have been competitively showing since we were five years old. Horseback riding is a passion for many of us and, personally, every college I visited, I made sure they had an equestrian team,” assistant captain Leah Cannon ’18 said.
The BUET members train at the Fox View Farm facility, which is a local horse stable just a few minutes from the Lewisburg campus. The club equestrian team members take weekly lessons at Fox View, led by head coach Farra DeNell Phillips and assistant coach Alex Jungkvist. In preparation for shows, the BUET members ride different horses at Fox View each week during the one-hour lesson instructed by the coaches. There are two to four Bison riders in each lesson, and the instruction time is split between flat work and jumping.
“I took a visit on Fox View Farm my junior year when I was visiting Bucknell and the fact that it was located only five minutes from campus pretty much sold me. I wanted to continue riding competitively in college and the Bucknell Equestrian team was able to achieve that goal for me,” Cannon said.
The 2016 BUET captains Kiren Donaldson ’16, Meg Rash ’17, Kirsten Valentini ’17 and assistant captains Cannon and Elizabeth Mohler ’18 led the team through a successful season. Featuring a few dozen club members, the BUET concluded last semester at Black River Farm where Mohler received the honor of High Point Rider. Depending on their riding skills, BUET members participate in either the Home Team, or the Show Team, in which members have the opportunity to compete at IHSA shows. Despite not participating in competitions throughout the semester, members of the Home Team practice hard and remain very active on the BUET. The Show Team has been very successful at the University and received Team Champion last semester after competing at Grier School. Additionally, Mohler, Donaldson, Amanda Kobokovich ’16, and Cannon competed at Regionals on March 20 at Black River Farm.
“The best part of being on the team for me is my teammates. Besides actually riding, there is nothing more I love doing than bonding with my teammates at horse shows, team dinners, or just hanging out at the barn. Even though we wake up and leave campus at the crack of dawn for competitions and return to campus late that evening, there is never a dull moment,” Cannon said.