The Stony Brook University Equestrian team participated in the Zone 2, Region 4 zone finals on April 9th.
The team came in second in the region finals this year.
“We have been very successful,” D’Arcy March, the team’s president, said. “When I was a freshman, we came top in the region, which is all of Long Island and New York State.”
At the zone level, she added, they compete against other teams in the New York State area. Zones are akin to playoffs, deciding who goes on to 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 through harmony and control while riding, vaulting or otherwise directing their horse. Additionally, both rider and horse are judged on first impression, including how well the horse is groomed and how well the rider is dressed, according to America’s Horse Daily.
The Stony Brook University Equestrian team has finished first in their region four times since 1997, according to Campus Equestrian. It has 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, while the others are on the club team, meaning 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 each rider.
Practices, which last an hour, 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 Stony Brook students 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 had been taught during training that there was an equestrian team.
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.
In the current season, the team had 14 riders qualify for zones, four of whom placed, including Erin Brody, who will be going on to represent Zone 2 in nationals.
“The team we have now is super enthusiastic, and everybody’s willing to work hard,” Marsh said. “I’m really optimistic about our future.”