Show Team offers unique opportunity
December 2, 2011
UW-River Falls provides a unique opportunity for students with its Western Show Team, in which all students are welcome to join.
The Western Show Team was founded on the belief that any college student should be given the opportunity to participate in horse shows. Even if students don’t have their own horse or have no experience in riding one, they are still welcome to join.
Students ride horses that are owned by UWRF and also other schools that they compete at. All Western Show Team competitions go through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). This organization “promotes competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional, zone, and national levels,” as stated on the IHSA website.
The UWRF team currently consists of 22 females and one male student. “They are a very happy bunch,” said Janie Huot, the western show team coach. “They always work with each other and help each other improve.” Huot has coached the team for the past three years.
The UWRF Western Show Team “has sent riders to the semi-finals in Pomona, Calif. in 2009-10 and Findlay, Ohio in 2010-11,” according to the UWRF Western Show Team website.
Team members pay all the expenses to compete, which includes transportation, outfits, housing at the events and entry fees.
Competition is broken into six levels that are based on the riders skill level, so advanced riders aren’t placed with beginners. These levels include beginner, intermediate, nov- ice, advanced, open horsemanship and open reining.
Students who have never ridden a horse can also seek out their teammates for advice. “If someone on the team is struggling with something, someone is always there to help,” said Kevin Chesler, a captain on the team. “Nobody gets shrugged to the side and ignored.”
The team currently has two captains. “I’ve been riding since I was about three and wanted to be involved with horses when I came here,” said Lindsey Klinkhammer, a captain of the team. “It is fun helping to coach teammates and I’ve also met with a few incoming freshmen to talk about getting involved.”
The type of riding in these competitions is different than others, in that competitors are
riding horses they have never ridden before. “We are not even allowed time to warm up and feel out the horse we are riding,” said Chelser.
UWRF currently participates in Zone 7, Region 3 which includes schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Ohio. In this region there are only three males who compete. “It is just hard to find guy riders in a woman dominated event,” said Chelser. “There are only three guys who compete in our region so it is not just our school who has trouble recruiting males. I am always surprised why there isn’t more guys who are interested in jumping on this band wagon, the guy to girl ratio is astronomical. On our team it is 1:22.”
The UWRF Western Show Team is planning on starting to do fundraising to help pay the cost for their competitions but it is still in the initial stages.