Since 2021, dozens of WPI students have made the trek out to Maplewood Farm in Berlin each week to care for, learn about, and practice riding horses as part of the newly founded Equestrian Team.
Goats and horses—as it turns out, this campus is big enough for the both of them.
Founding president Holly Galvin ’24 came up with the idea to expand on her work at an equine veterinary clinic. “I wanted to learn how to ride—something I’d never done before,” she explains. After making the decision to start the club process, she reached out to other interested students and credits her exec team’s hard work in making the organization official on campus. The team now stands at 37 active members.
All students are welcome, regardless of their amount of riding experience. Maplewood Farm’s owner and manager Tamara Johnston coaches the team, which will visit the farm in small groups with riders of similar experience levels for one lesson per week. This club sport competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s Zone 1 Region 3). Members who choose to be part of the competition team participate in horse shows in fall and spring; the team hosted its first home show at the beginning of March.
“It’s helped me meet a lot of people around campus I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Galvin says of her involvement in the team. “It makes me feel more connected to the WPI community.”
“It’s helped me meet a lot of people around campus I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. It makes me feel more connected to the WPI community.” -Holly Galvin ’24
In addition to their regular riding practice schedule, there are occasional visits to campus (maybe you got a chance back in February to catch them and their miniature horse special guests during WeConnect Day). The team also attended several horse shows at the end of March, and hosted the regional championship on March 27, something Galvin described as “super exciting and an honor.”
Creating a club is exciting, especially one as labor-intensive and with the many moving pieces of an equestrian team. For Galvin, it’s also a bit of a passion project, and one that helps her ground herself within the hectic world of a college student.
“My favorite part of being on the team is being able to have a consistent time each week where I can leave campus and interact with animals,” she says. “It really helps my mental health to put everything else on pause for my lesson when I’m stressed.”
Interested students may email the club for more information and any new chances to head up to Maplewood Farm to start their own equestrian journeys. Giddy-up!