If you didn’t know that St Andrews had a horse riding team, then I pity you. For here lies possibly one of the most inclusive, fun and hardworking sports clubs at the entire university.
Last Wednesday I made the trek (haha “trek,” I took a taxi) up to Drumcarrow Equestrian to cover the Riding Club’s first competition of the year. I was just excited to see some horses up close, but even more excited to find out that our riding team are actually very good at what they do.
The B Riding Team competed against teams from Dundee University, Strathclyde University, and Aberdeen University in dressage and jumping. Dressage was explained to me, a person with no equestrian knowledge whatsoever, by some of the riders as the “boring” part of the competition where the aim is to “try and look pretty while riding a horse,” which apparently includes tucking elbows in while you ride. Jumping, meanwhile, was “much more exciting” due to the added element of speed, air time, and some danger.
Regardless of how it was described to me, I was immediately swept up by the whole competition, much more so than I was rugby. For here I was watching a group of people with undeniable love for each and every horse they rode, undeniable talent for riding and jumping, and undeniable enthusiasm for what they do, riding and jumping horses on a Wednesday arvo.
What’s more, after absolutely killing it in dressage (or so I was told, I don’t know how dressage works) and flawlessly hurdling the jumps, there were Red Ribbons all around – St Andrews finished first overall in the team division, with St Andrew’s girl Emily Lacey also placing first for the individual prize.
But what’s even cooler is the fact that this club – who has clearly already established itself as the one to beat in riding competitions – is willing and able to help you become great at riding too.
Lesson sign-ups are on Wednesdays 8-9 pm at the Union Main Bar, and the club trains once a week. And, not only are they a friendly bunch, but if you sign up you’ll get to pat horses AND DOGS at Drumcarrow at least once a week. And if that’s not enough of an incentive, then I don’t know is.