Equestrian club unites horse enthusiasts

Jessica Lewis

Freshman social work student Heather Roadcap has started off her first year of college big—on Wednesday, Sept. 24, her idea, the Northern Michigan University Equestrian Club (NMUEC), was made into an NMU student organization.

re-Equestrian Courtesy Emily Briggs

“It’s basically a club that’s for anyone interested in horses or the art of equestrianism,” Roadcap, NMUEC president, said. “Even if you don’t know anything about horses, come out anyway. We’re willing to teach you and it’s also a great way to volunteer and gain community service hours.”

According to Roadcap, it took a few weeks for the club to get rolling because she wanted to ensure there was interest. Now, the group has over 45 members.

Members join the club for various reasons, such as the volunteer opportunities Roadcap mentioned, but many have a true love for equestrianism that makes this club perfect for them.

“I love horseback riding and the idea of having a group to share that love with,” sophomore entrepreneurship major Allison Dagenais said. “Also, to have a group to go riding with is awesome.”

Roadcap said goals of the club are to “gain confidence through showing” and “incorporate community service.” She also said she wants the club to “help members better understand and nurture their love of the world of horses.”

Junior public relations major Keny Jolgren grew up in the Upper Peninsula and has owned horses her whole life. She said  the NMUEC will be able to benefit from and help the horse community.

“I think the equestrian club can help a lot with the local shows volunteering and participating,” Jolgren said. “There are a large variety of things the group can get into depending on the members choices. If you want to learn more about horses on the ground there are trainers willing to start you out. There are a lot of options for everyone no matter the discipline.”

The club is still searching for barns, but a few have caught their eye. Some potential farms that the club is considering are Versatile Horsemanship and Willow Creek Farms, a local therapeutic farm.

“However,” Roadcap said, “we are mainly focused on working with Big Creek Equestrian. They are local, but also are reputable for the extensive backgrounds both their trainers and horses hold.”

Though the club is new, members have high hopes for its success.

“My hopes for the club,” senior athletic training major Emily Briggs said, “are that we establish a farm that will host us so that we will be able to at least have monthly lessons, put on or at least participate in around two to three local shows this year, volunteer and fundraise with local farms and clubs, and just enjoy being around and riding horses with people who enjoy it as much as you.”

Besides teaming up with local farms, Roadcap said one fundraiser the club is really looking to do is a Ride-A-Thon. They would be teaming up with the local police and splitting profits. If the equestrian program were to raise enough money, Roadcap said a long-term goal would be for the club to have its own barn and horses.

While some meetings go over the basics of equestrianism, Roadcap said they are working toward developing goals for the club and setting up meetings where they will be in the barns riding and training.

Roadcap encourages students to attend a meeting, and even if it turns out not to be for them, NMUEC is willing to help redirect students to clubs more in their interests. “We want people to know that we’re willing to work with them,” Roadcap said. “The purpose of this club is to help create and manage a positive image in and for the community.”

For more information on the club, visit the group’s Facebook page “NMU Equestrian Club,” or email Roadcap at [email protected]