Grinnell’s very own Equestrian Club has returned this year with the help of Julia Clymer ’13 and Brianne Evans ’13. Under Clymer’s leadership, the club has developed a close relationship with Triple V Training, the Van Dyke family farm located within walking distance of the college.

“I contacted them and just asked if they were interested and went out there and ended up spending an extremely long amount of time out there on the first day just getting to know them and talking with them,” Clymer said.

The club seeks to bring students at all levels of riding ability together on weekend trips to the Triple V training facility.

“We basically just want to get people out to get experience,” Clymer said. “Luckily Triple V has a huge indoor arena so a lot of times we will ride in there. That way people can get used to sitting on a horse.”

In addition to this strong relationship with Triple V, the Equestrian Club has received funding from SGA to subsidize the cost of lessons for any student who would like to try riding for the first time or who would like to improve their existing skills.

“Now people can take lessons … and the Equestrian Club can reimburse them for half the cost of the lesson, which is a good deal. Ten dollars for a personalized hour long lesson is great,” Clymer said.

For students who came to Grinnell with plenty of experience riding, the Equestrian Club provides the opportunity to continue to pursue a lifelong hobby.

“I’ve always loved horses. I want to go to veterinary school and do large animal work, maybe do equine only,” said Marta Andelson ’14.

Andelson first began riding through 4-H in Grinnell when she was in fourth grade. Although it wasn’t until seventh grade that she convinced her parents that she could take care of a horse, she received experience from her 4-H leaders, who allowed members to practice riding on their own horses.

“I started showing horses in the local county fair and I did that actually until I graduated high school,” she said.

Clymer’s interest in riding largely stems from a childhood friend who gave her access to horses.

“I think I got into horses when I was about seven. My best friend had two horses ,” she said. “I started taking lessons with her and then I really got into doing trail rides.”

Despite their different backgrounds, both Andelson and Clymer agree that riding horses in Grinnell has added another dimension to their college experience by connecting them to the community.

“I’ve definitely felt like it’s given much more balance to my life to be able to get off campus … even if I don’t go out and ride but if I just go out and just talk to the Van Dykes,” Clymer said.

Andelson points out that life outside of the Grinnell bubble can be just as rewarding as life inside it.

“I think, in general, for students who participate in the program and who have horses on campus, it’s a good way to remember that there is an outside world,” Andelson said. “I think that’s one of the really special things about it.”