For the first time, Van Hall Larenstein will be represented this year at an international student equestrian event in Philadelphia. The competition takes place from 29 May to 1 June. A Dutch and a German team will participate under the VHL flag, and both stand a good chance of winning the world cup.
The students will be paying their own airfare to the US, but VHL is footing the bill for the uniforms, registration and the teacher who will accompany them. The students will not be taking their own horses. ‘We’ve been offered relatively high-level competition horses there,’ says Van Tilburg. ‘Part of the point is that our riders get the feel of the horses quickly.'
The event consists of show jumping, dressage and a written test. Each country is allowed to send one team but, because Germany does not have an equine professional education course at this level, VHL is also sending a German team. Saskia Liss, a second-year Equine, Leisure & Sports and member of the German team, is looking forward to the Intercollegiate World Equestrian Cup in Philadelphia. ‘I like competitions, and riding in a team makes it even more special.’
First-year student Charlot Helder, a self-confessed riding fanatic, is even more serious. ‘As the Dutch team we’re going to do our very best to make sure we beat the German team!’
Both teams consist of three riders and a reserve. Each team also has one male participant. That’s not really so surprising, despite the reputation horse riding has for being a girls’ activity. ‘In the equine courses about ten percent of the students are men. The higher the level of equestrian event, the more male riders there are.’