Club overcomes financial obstacles, lack of facilities to hold event

By Laura Pepper

Since the UK equestrian team was re-established in 1985, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association never thought UK could handle hosting a competition, said team president Kathleen Reid.

But after co-hosting the English division competition last year and months of fundraising, the UK equestrian team found the resources to host this year’s western division competition.

Because equestrian is a club sport at UK, the university does not own its own facilities or horses for the team. Most of the teams UK competes against are either funded by their school or are privately funded. It is unusual for a team like UK’s, without its own facility and horses, to host a competition, said Reid, a junior.

“Usually where they have shows, the schools own their own facility and horses,” said club vice president Christi Burrington, a senior. “We don’t have our own barn, so we have to pay for the facility and loans for the horses for the day.”

Without university funding and university-provided facilities and horses, the team has to participate in fundraising events throughout the year. Besides selling T-shirts and water, team members work at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in April at the Kentucky Horse Park and at Lakeside Arena, a multi-use horse and livestock facility in Woodford County, Ky.

To put on this weekend’s competition, the student-run club had to raise $7,000 to $8,000, Reid said.

“We needed to have a complimentary breakfast, stuff for the draw table, make sure that we follow IHSA procedure, find horses, judges, and have EMTs,” Reid said. “Getting enough horses is the really big thing because UK has no horses personally, so we have to borrow.”

To obtain the 28 horses for Saturday’s competition, UK borrowed horses from the UK coaches, Midway College, Morehead State and local farms.

UK’s team does not have as many sponsorships as it would like, Reid said, but it is working on obtaining more sponsors this year. Organizations such as the Kentucky Equine Education Project and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital donated money and assisted with Saturday’s competition, and plan to aid the team in the English competition in March.