By John Ochira – Vice President
University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) students Alexa Perkins and Katherine Liscovitz are leading an effort to create a horseback riding club on campus.
Awaiting an approval from Student Senate, Perkins and Liscovitz are gathering support for their idea. According to Perkins, there is a willing and certified coach on their side. “We have a coach from Mt. Vernon and she owns a farm,” said Perkins. But that is not all; there are fourteen students who have already signed up to be part of the club. These Students are standing firmly behind Perkins and Liscovitz throughout the approval process and beyond.
If approved by the Student Senate, the UMF Dressage Club would compete in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) against: University of Maine Orono, University of New Hampshire, and Johnson and Wales. “We’d have six competitions a year; three in the winter and three in the spring,” Perkins told an enthusiastic group of horseback riders who had gathered for an information session.
Most of the students who attended the information session had some experience with horseback riding and owned a horse, but Perkins and Liscovitz reminded students that “you don’t need your own horse to compete,” and that “anybody who is interested can join” the Dressage Club.
Dressage is an individual sport. “Each rider is given a pattern to memorize. There is a different test for each of the four levels. The horse and rider are in the arena by themselves with a judge at one end. The horse and rider get judged on a scale of 1-10 on how well they complete each movement in the pattern. At the end all of the scores are added up and the rider is given a score out of 100%,” Liscovitz explained in an email interview. There is also a team aspect to the sport; all the individual scores are added up to make a team score.
Liscovitz and Perkins hope to hear from Student Senate soon about the Dressage Club constitution. Meanwhile, they remain focused on building membership and generating excitement for the prospect of a new club sport at UMF.