College Courses and Riding Horses

Article Published: Apr. 14, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
College Courses and Riding Horses

Lees-McRae College Equestrian Club members Caitlin Bentley, Veronica Brinkman, Emily Hopper, Amanda Simmons, Rebekah Brown, Lauren Kittleson, Samantha Miller, Katherine Santiago, Whitney Brandon, Ann Marie Hall and Beth Marlowe with Yonahlosse Saddle Club instructors Lauren Beck and Alexa Kapp at Sunday's introductory party at the saddle club.

Photo by Jeff Eason

Extracurricular activities are a big part of college life.

So when Ann Marie Hall couldn't find the team or club that suited her interests most at Lees-McRae College, she decided to start a new one.

"I started thinking about an equestrian club last September," Hall said. "I presented my idea to the school's president and dean and to (LMC vice president of academic affairs) Kacy Crabtree, and they were all very supportive.

"I didn't have any idea of how many other students would be interested, so I put up flyers on campus to tell people about a possible equestrian club and an initial meeting. Six people showed up at the first meeting."

From that beginning last fall, the equestrian club has grown to nearly 20 members. More than a dozen members of Lees-McRae Equestrian Club met last Sunday at the Yonahlossee Saddle Club to meet with the public and mingle with their new sponsors, Yonahlossee Saddle Club owners Diana and Richard Militana.

Members of the LMC Equestrian Club have the opportunity to ride the Militanas' horses at the Yonahlossee Saddle Club in exchange for keeping up with the stalls and grooming the horses. They have also had the opportunity to bond with the Militanas' stable of award-winning horses with names like "Winsome Rhapsody," "Impossibly Classy" and "Copper."

"It's fun, but it's also an educational experience," Hall said. "And we've developed a program that will benefit all levels of riders. We've got beginning riders in the club who never rode a horse before and experienced riders, as well."

The club is taking lessons from Yonahlossee Saddle Club instructors Alexa Kapp and Lauren Beck on both English and Western riding styles. The Yonahlossee Saddle Club, located off of Poplar Grove Road in Boone, features both indoor and outdoor riding areas.

Hall stated that even though the LMC Equestrian Club is in its beginning stages, it has big plans for the future.

"Eventually, we would like to be a sanctioned collegiate equestrian team and compete with other colleges," she said.

Hall added that there is even some interest from a few guys at Lees-McRae College and that she hopes others on campus will join the new club.

"Being able to start this club and enjoy the horses here at the saddle club has been both a blast and a blessing," Hall said.

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