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Club Spotlight: The Equestrian Club

The Bennington Equestrian club provides a community of support, sportsmanship, and, most of all, fun. Be it through competitions, shows, or practice at the stables, the club’s primary focus is always spirit, unity, and enjoying the activity. “We’re always making sure that it’s fun, for us and everyone else. Sometimes competitions can seem stressful, but we are not about the ribbons. We are just here to have a good time and help our friends and that’s all that matters,” says club member Ellery.

“There are a plethora of reasons that people join the club,” says club member Alana. “There’s a sense of community, therapeutic effects, and it challenges the rider to transcend any difficulties, both academically and emotionally, that hinder progress.” 

A typical visit to the stables consists of riding a horse for about an hour to work on skills, strengthen the core and legs, communication with the horse, and control. Participants also help out around the stables. “We also work at the stables…helping open—morning feeding, mucking, hay, wake up simon—and helping unload and organize on hay days,” says Ellery. 

In addition to riding at the stables, the club also participates in off-campus equestrian events, though this has been put on hold due to COVID-19. “We compete regionally in equestrian shows, which is really a time to make friends with people and horses from various schools,” says Ellery. “Because we are a small team, our overall point total is limited. Individually, we get plenty of first placers!” 

“Even though we’re small, we always bring horses to shows if we can,” specifies Ellery. “We help clean up at the end, we hold horses during [the show], we cheer for other teams.”

Expanding the club and sharing its passions with the campus community is a big goal for current members. Ellery expresses this desire to grow and the importance of doing so for the club’s long-term future. “We are so tiny! I mean, I love it, but to sustain the club we need to spread just a bit. We’re looking to do a spring show for the community, ride around, and have a good time. We have a horse that can wave. Wave! Who wouldn’t want to see that?”

The club will also be hosting various “Walk and Talks” to the barn throughout the semester, as well as, “a number of fun horse and non-horse related activities.”

In addition to waving horses, “Walk and Talks,” and spring shows, it is the day-to-day function of the club that excites and delights members the most. “There is so much to love about the Bennington Equestrian Team! I love the short walk to the barn in the fall, the smell of horses, apples, and hay wafting through the air.” reflects fellow club member Lucy. “The team is full of kind, funny people and horses who always make my day.”

The club rides at Rhythm Hollow Stables in North Bennington. Schedules are tailored by the individual; “It’s a ‘choose your own adventure,’”clarifies Alana. “Lessons happen on your own time,” adds Ellery. Not every lesson is solo, though. “We try to overlap and ride with one another, too.” As for lesson prices, the club recently received a grant from the college that covers the cost of the first two lessons for all new members.

The club was started six years ago by then-Bennington student Atalya Boytner. “She found Tara (from Rhythm Hollow Stables) and made this Equestrian team happen,” adds Ellery. “Now Atalya is out there photographing big fancy horse events. Very cool stuff.”

Fellow member Blythe addresses an important point on the club’s presence in the equestrian community as a whole; “The equestrian community is known for being dominated by straight, rich, white women, which deters a lot of people from even considering the sport as a possibility for them. Even the idea of treating this sport as a hobby is almost looked down upon, to the point where there are unnecessary rivalries between disciplines. We try to keep our principles pointed towards enjoying ourselves and each other. Often we find ourselves to be the smallest and most diverse team in our region when we go to horse shows. We want people to know that this sport can be for everyone, our team is for everyone. There is more than just the horse girl image.”

For more information, email benningtonequestrian@bennington.edu.


Macy Salico is a fourth-term transfer, class of 2023! She is studying the ways in which literature and art are used as modes of human expression during times of social change. After exploring SCT through literature and art, she plans on going to law school to focus on civil and human rights work.

Club Spotlight Columnist, Copy-Editing Team member

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