Students take on Outside World Experiences
By: Larissa Holmes
From April 6-9, six riders representing the University of Findlay’s English Equestrian program will attend the Equine Affair event in Columbus, Ohio. This event is held once a year, and features professionals in the industry such as clinicians, authors, judges and veterinarians, as well as various demonstrations and clinics. There are also breed demonstrations and seminars, as well as different vendors that sell products such as rider apparel, horse equipment, and handmade crafts and jewelry.
Students who wanted to apply for a spot in one of the clinics were encouraged to submit an application in order to register with the horse they wished to ride. They were also instructed to submit a video showing their current skill level with their horse. In the weeks leading up to Affair, the students worked with their instructors to prepare for the experience.
University of Findlay Sophomore Parker Nash was approached by his instructor Nicole Thungen, and invited to apply for the Equine Affair with Thungen’s personal horse, Rheiny. Nash was eager for the opportunity and submitted a video from his summer when he leased Rheiny and competed with her. He was selected to ride in a Dressage clinic with instructor Nicolas Fyffe.
“Any chance to ride off-property is beneficial,” Nash explained. “As well as getting that perspective from an accomplished instructor.”
While he will receive assistance from Thungen in transporting Rheiny to Equine Affair the day before his clinic, Nash will be completely independent. He has been riding Rheiny since last summer and has developed a good relationship with the horse. Nash will continue to prepare in the weeks leading up to the clinic.
Kacie Green, a senior, is nervous about riding in the Equine Affair for the first time, as well as taking part in her first clinic. However, she is looking forward to the opportunity, and thinks it will be a great experience. In addition to riding in two separate clinics, each hosted by Eventing expert Holly Hudspeth, Green will participate in a thoroughbred breed demonstration with a horse named Vanderbilt, her assigned horse for the semester.
“I’m really hoping Holly can give me some new ideas and exercises that will help our jumping,” Green said. “Vanderbilt is amazing to flat, but he can be really difficult for me to ride, especially when we jump.”
Findlay sophomore Gwen Jones is a veteran to the Equine Affair. She participated the previous year with a horse named Peanut. This year however, Jones will be taking part in a more discipline-specific clinic with an Eventing horse. She will also ride in a clinic led by Holly Hudspeth and participate in the thoroughbred breed demonstration.
“I hope to be able to take what I learn from the clinic and be able to transfer that knowledge onto not only the cross-country course, but also to any future horses that I work with,” Jones said.
Those who are participating in the clinic are looking forward to the riding opportunities that will be made available to them, as well as the chance to learn from some of the best riders their discipline has to offer.