Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augie Equestrian Team gears up for regional show

Augustana College has a vast array of successful athletic teams including basketball, track and field, soccer and baseball, just to name a few.
On top of all these sports are many club teams that get the attention of countless Augustana students. With all these activities to be a part of, the Equestrian team is one that gets often overlooked.
The Equestrian team at Augustana has been around for 13 years, and often gets confused for the Equestrian club.
Although there is an Equestrian club, there is a competitive Equestrian team that travels around the Midwest competing in shows.
The extent of many people’s Equestrian knowledge is that it is “competitive horseback riding.”
Senior Samira Radi and junior Becky Bieber help explain some of the intricacies of Equestrianism.
Radi, an international student from Colombia, talked about transitioning from riding in her home country to riding in the Midwest.
“I’ve been riding ever since I was little. Equestrianism is similar here as it was in Colombia, but the major differences come in the rules of the IHSA and the requirements we are given,” Radi said.
Bieber talked about her past riding experience and how Equestrianism affected her decision to come to Augustana.
“I’ve been riding since I was 10 years old and Equestrianism is something I wanted to do in college,” Bieber said. “Augustana having an Equestrian team even made it a better choice for me.”
Over the course of their season, spanning from about September to February, the team competes in about 7-10 shows, depending on the planning and coordination of the IHSA.
Once these shows are over, qualified riders move onto compete in regionals, zones and nationals which can go until May.
With the season lasting the entirety of the school year, the riders are required one practice or lesson a week in Blue Grass, Iowa, but are free to do more.
Many of the 19 athletes, consisting of seventeen women and two men, practice more than the one required per week.
“I practice about four times per week, three of those are me riding on my own,” Bieber said.
“Right now for the English team, I do flat competitions, but I practice jumping and plan on competing in it next year,” Bieber said.
The Equestrian team itself is split into two different teams, the English and the Western. The differences in the teams are the attire they wear, the saddles they use and the courses they compete in.
While the English team focuses on flat and jumping competitions, the Western focuses on memorizing and riding a specific course.
During these shows, riders receive points depending on what place they get. Placing first gets the rider the most points and the further down the rider places, the fewer points they receive.
At the end of the year, if the rider’s points total 36 or more, they advance to regionals.
Although the scoring system is geared towards the individual rider, the team itself stays very close. Radi talked about how close the riders are.
“We are all very close which is good because depending on the show, they can take 12-14 hours a day. And even when we aren’t practicing or competing, we hangout at each other’s houses,” Radi said.
“Our team is small, but chill, and we are very close to one another which is why I love it,”  Bieber said.
This close knit group of riders have one more show coming up before regionals on the weekend of Jan. 25.

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Augie Equestrian Team gears up for regional show