For many horsey people, starting university means leaving their furry friends behind, however, if you're lucky enough to go to a university that has an equestrian club, that void can quickly be filled. We caught up with Vicky Burns, Social Media Secretary at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) Equestrian Society to find out what joining a university equestrian team has to offer, here’s what she had to say…
Here at LJMU Equestrian Society we offer members the opportunity to ride recreationally, for a team, join in with social activities and volunteer for charities. So not only are you doing something that you love and will undoubtedly miss whilst at uni but you’re also meeting like-minded people who know what you’re on about, or who are delighted to celebrate with you when you come second rather than asking you why you didn’t win.
One part of the society is teams. All university and college sports are run through BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport), this year, for the first time ever LJMU have three teams running in BUCS leagues, one in the championship league (A team), and two in the trophy league (B1 and B2) we also have a development team that compete in a friendly league. By going through BUCS our teams can progress through the mini leagues to regionals then to nationals.
These competitions run differently to how a normal show would. Each member is to participate in a combined – training based performance of a prelim/novice level dressage test and a round of 60 – 90cm show jumps (depending which team you’re in). With each team seeking riding schools to host competitions at, all horses used in the competitions belong to the chosen schools. To make the competition more interesting, horses are lettered A-D, in order to decide which horse you do your tests on a letter is drawn out of a hat. Each team does this, so effectively you are against one member from each team. After selecting your horse you then have 7 minutes to warm up and get to know the horse before going and competing, definitely challenging you as a rider as you have to adapt to different horses each time. In terms of scoring you want the best score (obviously) as the best score on each horse equals a zero and once the dressage and show jumping scores are added up, the lowest score of the competition wins.
So apart from having a successful year competing we also aim to keep the society fun and enjoyable to be a part of, offering opportunities such as volunteering, cross country lessons and polo lessons to name a few, giving members a well-rounded riding experience. In addition to horsey related fun, we host regular social nights out with fancy dress or meals out to ensure we involved every one of our members. It’s always important to have somewhere to just enjoy yourself and we hope this applies to our members.
Finally we’d like to thank SPILLERS for their support and we can't wait to keep you updated on our progress throughout the year.
Vicky Burns – Social Media Sec
It’s a shame that our university days are long gone as hearing from Vicky makes us want to join the society right now! However, if you’re lucky enough to be going to university next year, make sure you seek out the equestrian team during Fresher’s Week and if you’re currently at uni, remember it’s never too late to join in!