Equestrian looks to tame the competition
The St. John’s Family is back better than ever! COVID-19 left students out of “normal” school, clubs, and sports for about a year and a half, and the students are extremely excited to be making a return to their favorite activities at SJC. The start of the school year is busy and confusing so some sports are getting a spotlight to let the members of St. John’s know what is happening around campus. St. John’s Equestrian Team is especially excited at the return to a sense of “normalcy” for their upcoming season.
Equestrian is a sport played at all levels, High School, College, and even the Olympics. At St. John’s, Coaches Gelso and Fernandez work hard to replicate the sport at a college level. St. John’s competes in very competitive shows that require extreme training throughout the year. It is important to understand what the riders are doing in the competitions. There are two types of riding, flat and jumping, divided into four divisions based on skill. Although the members of the team are training on horses they personally know well, horses are picked at random for each rider during the competitions. Ms. Gelso said, “Randomness of horse assignments make practice difficult but not impossible.” Strength and performance training is key to improvement as well as studying horses and their behavior.
St. John’s Equestrian Team participates in seven to nine competitions every year as well as postseason competitions. The classes generally have twelve to thirteen riders competing. Each rider receives points for effectiveness in the chosen skill as well as the position of both the rider and horse. While it can be stressful Caroline Lokken, a junior on the team said, “The competitions are extremely fun because [they] all get to experience it together and live through [each other’s] accomplishments.” The team is always looking for riders to join their tight-knit family, but the competitive and difficult nature of the sport makes the riding experience a requirement. Coach Fernandez explained that “The sport is for everyone whether they participate or watch other riders.” It is often overlooked, but its competitive nature and difficult competitions/shows make for great entertainment.