Equestrian club gallops towards a successful season


Provided by Callie Bateson

The Equestrian team poses for a picture at one of last years shows.

Katie McDermott, Staff Writer

As Catherine Newark enjoys a nice trail ride with the equestrian club, she feels as though the only thing in the world is her and her horse. For the last 6 years, Newark has been riding horses, and this is her first year being a member of the Westford Academy Equestrian club, experiencing what it feels like to look at the world on a horse’s back. 

The Equestrian club is a competitive horse-riding team in the Athletic Equestrian League, where they participate in events called shows where they compete against other riders. Along with the shows, the equestrian club enjoys going on trail rides and spending as much time as possible with their horses during their Tuesday practices from 2-3 p.m. around Westford. 

When spending time with their horses, the club members like to form a connection with their horse to learn what they like and what they dislike. 

The club members learn how to ride the horses, and they understand the best way to ride them,” Equestrian team advisor Callie Bateson said.

Even though the club members get to learn what works best for their horse and how to ride it, there is a random selection at shows for who gets what horse. This can have an impact on the rider because they don’t know what different habits this horse is going to have. 

Part of the reason why some people get first place at shows is because they really enjoyed their horse and built a connection with them pretty quickly. 

Riding a horse can be an amazing experience for some people. The feeling that people get when they are on a horse is a feeling that you cannot understand unless you are experiencing it.  

“It’s a break from the rest of the world and they are very different from people,” Newark said.

As much as riding a horse can be a very special activity to participate in, it can also require lots of patience and control. Some days can be harder than others when it comes to horses. The riders never know what the horse is feeling and sometimes the horse might not be feeling it that day. According to Newark, there is a lot of learning when it comes to being able to compromise with the horse, and recognizing that it is not working that day. 

“You will have good days, and you will have bad days,” Bateson said. “You just have to keep rolling with the punches and know that you will get better day by day.” 

One of the best things the riders can do for the horse is to train the skill that is causing the most complications by taking it one step at a time and being as patient as possible. All of the hard work that is put into the equestrian team gets put to good use at their shows. One of the team goals for this year is to be able to host their own show and make it to nationals.

“This year we are trying to get our girls to compete in nationals and to do so they have to compete in four shows throughout the school year,” Bateson said. 

The Equestrian team is also hoping for some new riders to join the team, helping to add to their community. 

“Our main goal is to get more people to join and recruit more beginners,” Newark said. 

For students who are interested in joining the Westford Academy Equestrian Club, reach out to Callie Bateson or Lauren Coffey.