Holland College introduces its first ever competitive Equestrian Team
By Abigail Cox
October 8, 2021
Becka Henderson, captain and founder of the Hurricanes Equestrian team poses with her horse Envy. Photo by Abigail Cox.
Becka Henderson began riding at age 9 and horses got her through a lot in life.
“Horseback riding was the only sport I never gave up on.”
Henderson founded the Holland College Equestrian Club back in 2019. The club helps students learn the basics about taking care of horses and riding them.
She started the club because her biggest joy in life is sharing her knowledge of horses with others. Being around horses has helped her with her own mental health.
“Sharing is my therapy now.”
She is always amazed to see club members destress during meets, after a hard day at school or just life.
“Horses are so therapeutic because they don’t judge you or care about what you look like.”
Henderson is now the captain and founder of Holland College’s first ever competitive Equestrian team.
“I just pushed the club as much as possible over the last two years to really get the word out.”
In August 2021, she worked with Albert Roche, the Holland College Athletic Director to start up the new team.
“There’s a real chance students will pick Holland because we now have an equestrian team,” said Henderson.
Now her focus is to get the word out about the new college team.
“This is something we want to continue on for 10 plus years, like other sports, not just be a one off.”
The biggest challenge so far is making sure all participants follow the necessary guidelines.
“The Atlantic Intercollegiate Equestrian Team (AIEL) rulebook is 50 plus pages long, so just knowing what is acceptable and how things work. As it is a bit different than other horse shows.”
If the teams don’t follow these rules, they can get kicked out of the AIEL.
Skylar Osmond, co-captain of the team began riding last year at the Holland College Equestrian Club.
“I always wanted to try riding, but I didn’t know how to start, so the club gave me the opportunity to begin.”
Since then, she been riding weekly and is now competing.
Osmond helped Henderson arrange tryouts and lessons for the new team.
“All summer Becka and I just worked on getting a team together.”
She is looking forward to seeing her teammates compete but there are some challenges. Often riders must compete on a horse they’ve never ridden before. It’s called catch riding.
“It will be a challenge because you can read the write-up before you get on about what the horse is like, but everyone rides differently.”
The Hurricanes Equestrian teams next show is at Acadia on October 24th. The team hopes to take home some ribbons.