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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Smaller number of members not stopping the Marquette Equestrian Club

The Marquette Equestrian Club poses for a photo at a competition. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Equestrian Club.)

At first glance, the Marquette Equestrian Club is undeniably smaller than other clubs.

The club, which started showing in 2018, has just eight members on its roster while competing schools boast anywhere from 15 to 30 members. But that is not necessarily a negative for the team.

Club President Megan MacNaughton, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she believes that the smaller club size has its benefits. 

“In some aspects, it’s really good,” MacNaughton said. “Because there are so few of us, we’re all super close because we all get to know each other pretty well.”

However, because of its small size, MacNaughton said there is more pressure at meets.

“Competitively, it’s a little bit harder,” MacNaughton said. “We have to all be on our game to win because we don’t have as many people.”

The equestrian club traveled down I-94 to Madison for a show hosted by the Wisconsin Equestrian Team Oct. 8. 

Captain Keeley Starvel, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said it was a success. 

“It went well. I feel like everyone, each day, got better. It was two days, so Saturday and then Sunday,” Starvel said. “Sunday went significantly better for everyone, which is always a good thing.”

Starvel said the horse shows are very demanding of riders because they do not know their horse before the meet starts.

“These horse shows can be so difficult because you’re thrown in never knowing these horses that you’re riding. You basically pull a name out of a hat and get a random horse,” Starvel said. “We had seen all these horses for the first time on Saturday. You get to see them go and you get to know them a little bit better. Then Sunday, you feel a lot more prepared.” 

Meets last two days across three jumping — open, intermediate and limit — and three flat divisions. 

Starvel said in the jumping divisions riders follow a designated path around the ring and jump over set obstacles, while there is no jumping involved in the flat divisions.

“Open, intermediate and limit have a flat class which is just walk, trot and canter,” Starvel said. “Novice, pre-novice and introductory are all just flat classes. Novice and pre-novice is walk, trot and canter, (while) introductory is walk, trot.”

With the club being more expensive than most other sports, MacNaughton said this is something the club struggles with.

“Depending on whether you’re jumping and flatting, or just flatting, it can range from about $150 to $250 a weekend,” MacNaughton said. “Of course, when we sent out the meeting information and we stated how much our lessons cost, I think six people showed up to the meeting and then ultimately, three people joined.” 

The team practices at Seoul Creek Farm in West Bend, Wisconsin. The barn is owned by Courtney Hayden-Fromm, who MacNaughton said offered to host the team when it was first founded and continues to allow them to practice there.

“I don’t know if Courtney is an alum but she does have connections to Marquette,” MacNaughton said. “I think she was just excited to host the Marquette team all those years ago and she’s graciously allowed us to ride there.”

With the barn being 40 minutes away, the team has to rely on members carpooling and the Marquette vans.

“Megan (MacNaughton) is the only member with a car so she drives our lesson group and then the other two groups use the Marquette vans,” Starvel said. “Then for shows if we can we get those vans as well to take everyone but if not, members graciously let us take their cars or our coaches drive.”

Starvel said this season hasn’t been the easiest for the team. On top of getting new coaches a week prior to their first show, almost half the team members are new this year.

“We have three brand new girls on the team, and they have never done this type of showing before,” Starvel said. “The new coaching was a pretty drastic change. That was a week before our first show. Then we got high point.”

But despite the adversity the team has faced, Starvel said the season has been a success.

“The season has gone really well, especially considering all these new factors,” Starvel said. “We’ve accomplished a lot for ourselves, given our circumstances.”

This story was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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