By Kevin Matyi and Jenny Jeng
The Stony Brook Equestrian team will participate in the zone 2, region 4 zone finals this coming Saturday, April 9.
The team came in second overall in the region finals this year, D’Arcy March, president of the team, said.
“We have been very successful,” she said. “When I was a freshman, we came top in the region, which is all of Long Island and New York State.”
She added that at the zone level, they compete against other teams on Long Island and the surrounding area, and that zones are akin to playoffs, deciding who goes on to regionals and potentially nationals.
“It’s stepped like bigger sports, like more well-known sports, but it’s still a little different,” she said.
At a horse show, the equestrian equivalent of a football game, riders demonstrate their skill by showing harmony and control while riding, vaulting or otherwise directing their horse.
Additionally, both the rider and horse are judged on first impression, including how well the horse is groomed and how well the rider is dressed, according to American’s Horse Daily.
The Stony Brook University Equestrian team has finished first in their region four times since 1997, according to Campus Equestrian. This means that they have competed and won against school teams including Columbia and Adelphi University.
Stony Brook’s equestrian team has approximately 20 members, 16 of whom compete regularly, and the others are on the club team, meaning that they ride with the trainer and help the team, but do not participate in competitions.
Team members range in experience from those who have never been on a horse before to those who have been riding since they were five years old, Marsh said. As a result, Coach Myrna Treuting tailors the practice to the skill level of the rider.
Practices, which are an hour long, are limited to around seven people because of the danger of working with horses. The exact timing of the practices changes per semester, as the coach fits them around the team’s various schedules.
Despite the team’s success, few students of Stony Brook University seem to know that the team exists.
“I’ve never really seen someone from the equestrian team or someone around or anything about it, but I’m sure they exist.” Cindy Marji, a 20-year-old biomedical engineering major, said.
Even the students who have heard of the club do not seem to know much about it.
“I know the equestrian team is basically just for horseback riding, and that’s kind of all I know,” Kayla Keller, a 19-year-old linguistics major, said. “I don’t think a lot of people know about it because I feel like they’re not really involved on campus much, so people aren’t really hearing about them, they’re not really involved in any major events.”
Keller said she only knew about the club because she was a Commuter Assistant, and so had been taught during training that there was an equestrian team.
In the current season, three riders have gone on individually to zone finals. In the past, the team has had individuals go on to win zones and even nationals, where they compete against riders from 400 schools from around the country.
“The team we have now is super enthusiastic, and everybody’s willing to work hard,” March said. “I’m really optimistic about our future.”