KELLY VAUGHN ’17
When students hear the phrase “club sports,” one imagines a fun, low-stakes lacrosse or soccer team, not a traditional English riding team. The Co-Captains of Trinity College’s Equestrian Team, Sarah Fogel and Cayley Moynihan ’17, have each been riding for more than 15 years and have been working hard to make the Equestrian Team have a stronger, more supported presence on campus.The team, which is a part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and rides at Oak Meadow Farms in East Hartford, CT, trained by Amy Kriwitsky.
Although Fogel and Sarah Fogel are both veteran riders, Fogel says, “The equestrian team allows students with or without pervious experience to ride in college. The really cool thing about college riding is that you don’t need your own horse. It’s all done thorough school horses and when we go to horse shows, we just ride the horses that the barn has. It also gives students the chance to get off campus twice a week and bond with girls of all years and ages on the team, so it’s a good way to share your love of horses, how to take care of a horse, etc.”
Moynihan and Fogel both emphasize that the opportunity to ride at Trinity is not only relatively unknown, it is also a highly underrated sport in terms of approachability and difficulty. Fogel says, “It’s actually a lot harder than it seems from the ground. A lot of times people tell us that you just sit there and the horse does all the work for you, but I can promise you after all my lessons, I’m sweating, I’ve worked out hard, and it keeps me in shape. It’s not a sport that you can just sit there and let the time go by. You’re constantly doing things and you’re communicating with another animal that has a brain of its own and doesn’t always do what you want it to do.”
Moynihan agrees, saying, “I’ve been riding since I was five. I’ve always loved riding because there’s nothing else like it –you’re able to form a bond with a 1200-pound animal, and a lot of people don’t understand how much blood, sweat, and tears actually go into the sport.”
For both Fogel and Moynihan, riding as been a huge part of their life since childhood. Fogel, who, when she moved to London, started riding as a fun hobby with friends, says she never expected it to turn into a lifelong passion. “I like riding because every place I’ve moved, I have been able to ride and there’s always a really strong community. I’m still friends with a lot of the girls I’ve met throughout the years,” says Fogel.
Fogel emphasizes the fact that riding is much more accessible than people think. “It’s not just an elite sport, and there are ways like through IHSA that you can ride and compete. There’s also a great legacy of horseback riders–Reed Kessler, Beezie Madden, Jackie O, even the Queen of England rides sometimes. It really is so fun and you don’t need a lot of money to get on a horse and ride.”
With such a strong passion for both the history of the sport and being competing riders, Fogel and Moynihan have been strategically deciding how to make students aware that the Equestrian Team exists and encourage more participation from both new and veteran riders. The captains have worked to increase the amount of gear they wear that says Trinity College Equestrian Team and have also utilized social media and on campus publications such as the Tripod and Her Campus Trinity to increase the name awareness and that Trinity actually has a competing, successful equestrian team. Moynihan reiterates this, saying, “I think the ultimate goal is that when we tell someone we are on the riding team the response isn’t ‘Trinity has a riding team?’”
The captains also pride themselves on the overall camaraderie the team offers. “Aside from the experience, however, the team is a great way to meet new people, have a separate group of friends, and be a part of something outside of the daily happenings at school. Since I joined freshman year, the girls on the Equestrian team have been some of my closest friends. We are a small team, but we are very competitive, but we also have a lot of fun,” says Moynihan. Fogel adds, “We bond a lot because sometimes it’s like negative seven degrees at these shows so we’re all piled on top of each other in blankets and sweatshirts, and then when you have to take them off to wear specific show clothes it’s freezing but we always have a laugh.”
KELLY VAUGHN ’17