Equestrian team practices for upcoming year

Echo Gotsick

UK’s mascot may be a Wildcat, but it’s horses are going to bring home the blue.

The UK equestrian team looks strong this year with a new facility, a large team and a great track record from years past.

The equestrian team competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association against several large schools in the region, like the University of Louisville, Midway and the Universiy of Cincinnati.

UK has the largest team in the region with 38 members. The team members ride in several different levels: low, novice, intermediate and open.

The lower level competes in flat events at shows, while the other levels compete in flat and over-fences events.

“I do think we’ll be successful this year,” said team president Mackenzie Mentzer. “Last year we were fourth at zones, and the year before that we went to nationals and got fifth out of 13 teams.”

The team just moved into a brand new barn. Head trainer and owner Diana Conlon had it built.

Mentzer said it is an upgrade.

“Just being at a brand new barn is awesome,” she said.

She said the team is settling in after moving into the barn on Labor Day.

Students can attend competitions throughout the year. The team will compete in Cincinnati on the first weekend of October and in Georgetown the third. The team will finish out the month in Louisville.

At competitions, each rider draws a horse through a lottery system. UK owns four horses, and about six team members own their own horse. The team can also practice with Conlon’s horses.

Every team member is required to practice at least once a week, if not more.