The Brock Equestrian Club is an athletic organization that provides diverse experiences and programming for interested students. The club has 30 members in total, 15 of which compete in various shows hosted by the Ontario University Equestrian Association (OUEA) across the province. Brock riders compete in the West Division of the OUEA’s circuit in the open, intermediate, novice and entry levels. The Brock Equestrian Club participates in these shows using catch riding which means that riders are matched up with a different horse every time they compete. This style of riding takes out the financial advantages that more wealthy riders have over less affluent ones. Typically, if a rider were to compete with an $80,000 horse they would fair better than a rider with a $600 horse so catch riding is convenient and makes the sport more equitable for competitors.
Judges score riders based on their equitation or their adherence to the technical side of horseback riding. Riders are judged based on how they ride their horse, leg position, body position, how they hold their reigns, how they control their animal and how they look while doing it. “It’s all about being subtle but effective,” said Holly Harris, captain of the Equestrian competitive team.
The flat course consists of riders and their horses performing different types of trots and canters in a circular course. For the show jumping course, riders must complete eight jumps all completed in the appropriate order.
The Brock club is based at Avanwhit Stables in Pelham on Oille Road. “The thing I love about the Brock Equestrian team here is that it gives students an outlet to keep riding horses into their post secondary schooling. It’s very affordable because you don’t need a horse, shows have a $55 entrance fee but they can typically be $400 and upwards outside of the university circuit,” said Harris.
On October 2, the team travelled to Ancaster Fair Grounds in Jerseyville to compete in a show hosted by Laurier University’s equestrian team. Heather Lakin came in second in the open division for the jumping category. Bryanna McCabe was awarded first in the entry level flat course as Megan Havenga took third in novice over fences. The most highly awarded member of the team was Holly Entwhistle who was named the high point novice rider of the show which means she finished first in her overall division. Entwhistle was also named the reserve highpoint rider (finishing second place in the entire show) with first in novice over fences and second in novice for the flat course. Lastly, Ashley McEhnhill came in 7th in the novice division over fences. Next, Brock Equestrian will travel to London on November 20 to compete at Western’s upcoming show.
When asked what qualities are necessary for success in the sport Harris replied, “you have to have a level head and be able to problem solve very quickly and subtly. You need to take it in a light hearted nature, sometimes it wont be your day and thats fine, you learn from your mistakes and keep going. You need to be calm because horses can feed off of your energy and if your anxious the horse won’t give you a good run.”
Until their next show and in between practices the club remains extremely busy and active within the Brock community. Not only do they have a lesson program for interested students that includes carpool services but the club is also participating in Random Act of Kindness Day with the Lincoln County Humane Society.