The Grinnell Equestrian Club is having another busy semester of activities at Triple V Training stables. This semester, the club is offering Grinnell students riding lessons while also working on forming a drill team. A horseback drill team, the equestrian version of synchronized swimming, entails a team of riders performing choreographed moves to music. Grinnell’s drill team started early in the semester with open practices during Family Weekend and interest has been so high that the group plans on having two groups next semester. Grace Bell ’17, one of the club’s leaders, put together the routines the club uses herself.
“There’s some really great handbooks … you can find online that describe and diagram specific maneuvers, so I use some of those and come up with connections between the different maneuvers,” Bell said.
Although Bell set the routines, the team got to choose the music to which they performed, this time, “Please Don’t Stop the Music” by Rihanna. Although there are drill team competitions, Bell thinks that the dearth of local competitions and the amateur status of the group will keep them in Triple V for now.
“I think it would be really fun and a number of the people are interested in doing that, [but] I don’t really know of any competitions around here,” Bell said.
Riding lessons are another important part of the club’s efforts and are a gateway to more advanced horseback activities like the drill team. The club also helps mitigate the economic realities of horseback riding, which can be a quite expensive hobby.
“For a lot of students, taking lessons out of the barn is a great opportunity, because SGA covers most of the lessons, and horseback riding can be kind of expensive so for a lot of kids it’s something they haven’t gotten to do before,” Bell said.
Bell’s lessons, however, are not strictly limited to Grinnell students, as she also teaches a few young children from the Grinnell community as well as Grinnell College’s flute instructor, Claudia Anderson. According to Bell, each age group prevents its own challenges and rewards.
“In the past I’ve mostly done stuff with little kids and I’ve really enjoyed that, but I actually really enjoy working with the college age level, just [because] you can do a little bit more,” Bell said.
Although a number of students in the club are experienced riders, there are also some beginners, so those interested need not be intimidated. This variety of riders makes for a stronger club, with both experts and those wishing to learn more.