Science - November 29, 2007

Equus unites horse lovers

The recently formed student association Equus is attracting attention with its activities for riding enthusiasts. Equus was started last summer by students in the Equine, Leisure & Sports programme at Van Hall Larenstein in Wageningen. On Sunday 25 November, members took an introductory lesson in side-saddle riding.

A member of Equus riding side-saddle
‘If you have a good saddle it’s not difficult. It’s actually great fun,’ says Nadja Fischer, the chairperson of Equus. She’s in the third year of the ELS programme and comes from Germany. ‘When you ride side-saddle you can only use one leg. But you have a cane in your right hand that you use instead of your right leg, so the horse doesn’t get confused.’

Side-saddle riding is not very well known and the introductory lesson was intended to let members try it out and experience it for themselves, tells Nadja. Last Sunday was the first time for her too. ‘I really enjoyed it, but a normal saddle is more comfortable. And the next day I could really feel one side of my back.’

Equus organises activities like side-saddle riding and western style riding purely for fun, but the aim of the association is more serious. ‘We want to help students learn more about the horse industry. Last Saturday we went to a horse-milking farm and we’re planning a trip to an embryo transfer station in the near future. We also visit breeding and training stables. There are so many different points of view, not only those of breeders and trainers but also of veterinarians for example. We want to think out of the box and show students different perspectives. After all, that’s what they are trying to teach us here.’

Equus started officially in August, at the suggestion of the ELS coordinator Martine van Tilburg. The association now has 23 members including one man. All students and teachers who are interested in horses are welcome to join; they don’t have to be doing a horse-oriented study. The language spoken at events is English. ‘We try to organise as many activities as possible. If students come across something interesting during lessons and want to know more, we try to arrange a guest speaker on the subject or a relevant field visit. / Alexandra Branderhorst

See www.vanhall-larenstein.nl/Equus

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