Unique challenge for equine students

Tuesday 1 Dec 2015

Myerscough College equine students are competing in a unique national competition for the first time.

This year Myerscough has entered the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Equestrian Championship. The programme is unique in equestrianism as all riders must compete on borrowed horses, supplied by the host venue, rather than use their own or one they’re more familiar with riding. This removes a barrier to participation as students do not need to own a horse, but of course adds an element of the unknown. Horses are drawn at random before the event starts.

In addition the riders must compete in both dressage and show jumping with the combined judge's scores making up the final result. As other equestrian events it is a mixed competition, with both male and female students competing.

Over 160 teams take part in the BUCS Equestrian competition across the country, with Myerscough, competing under the banner of UCLan, fielding two teams containing a mixture of Higher Education students from all years. Both of Myerscough’s teams came second in their opening fixtures of the season.

Kirsten Owen BHSI, Stable Yard Manager at Myerscough College, said: ‘’The students organise it all and do a great job. They were excited but very nervous. They did really well. It’s a massive learning experience and a real challenge to ride unfamiliar horses.

‘’We have always wanted to do this and we’re glad we’ve finally managed to get involved in the competition.

‘’The students train every week and get all the extra help they need. It’s great as they’re developing empathy with unfamiliar horses so in competition they can tactfully ride horses they’ve never seen before in a pressure situation.

‘’Taking part in this competition is great for their enrichment. It teaches them discipline and respect, as well as gaining valuable experience in a competitive environment and developing the skills involved with all round horsemanship.

‘’The camaraderie between the students themselves as well as the other competing teams was fantastic to see and we’re looking forward to the other fixtures.’’

The two Myerscough sides compete in the North/North East Mini-Leagues, with the A team up against university teams from Bradford, Lancaster and Liverpool, while the B team are in the same league as Durham, Leeds and Hull. The winners of each league go forward to compete in regional finals and those winners then go onto the national finals. There is also an individual championship.

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by Dave Salmon


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