by Victoria Ungvarsky
A loud, excited crowd fills the indoor track as Morgan Greer ’14 and her pony, Lyrical, prepare for their next jump. This is Lyrical’s first Open Barn. “She’s a little bit distracted,” announcer and equestrian Phoebe Roe ’16, who is also the Collegian’s news assistant, calls to an avid audience. “She’s observing the ambiance.”
Both horse and rider begin trotting around the track, slowly at first but gaining speed until Lyrical’s hooves are in the air and their bodies soar over the tall bar. The pair are greeted with thunderous applause and cheers from the audience of excited children.
Lead by team captains Greer, Helen Rogers ’15 and Dianne Thoensen ’14, the Kenyon College Equestrian Club hosted their annual fundraiser, Open Barn, last Saturday. The event took place at Hickory Hill Farm, about 12 miles away from Kenyon, and featuresd numerous activities. This year’s occasion drew in a crowd of about 120 — by the far the largest number of people since the program’s creation four years ago.
“We have had a lot of pony rides all day” Elizabeth Abrash ’17 said. “We also had a lot of arena activities.” These activities included demonstration of jumps by members of the team and visits to the stables to meet the horses. Children were allowed to jump over the bars on the track, and play a rendition of musical chairs called “musical hay bales.” Finally, visitors had the chance to paint a beautiful white horse named Skye with handprints in brilliant colors.
The Equestrian Club is unlike most other sports at Kenyon. Despite, or perhaps because of, its high costs, the College funds less than half of the budget for the club due to its club status, rather than varsity sport status. Because of this budget shortage, the Equestrian Club leases their horses from owners at Hickory Hill Farm. The team relies on funds raised from Open Barn and other fundraisers to continue the success of the team.
“It’s a really, really amazing sport,” Anya Schulman ’17 said. “There’s so many aspects of this sport. You can never really be a master of horseback riding because there’s just so much to learn.”
The skilled riders had the opportunity to show off their fantastic talents during the jump demonstrations when the horses would leap over bars as high as three feet above the ground. “A beginner on a horse might jump [1 foot]. But a competition could be two to three times this height in lessons in competition,” Schulman said.
The team pulled out all the stops for the incoming visitors. The track was adorned with fake flowers, which recalls horseback riding history as a country sport among the upper classes of England.
The favorite event, by far, was the pony rides. Escorted by members of the equestrian team, visitors had the chance to go around the indoor track on a horse and spend some quality time with the animals themselves.
Open Barn was an opportunity for the community to see what the Equestrian Club does and spend some time with some beautiful animals. With good food and pony rides, Open Barn was a ride for all.
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