Any Queen’s student can learn to ride a horse

Equestrian Club excited to offer a community at Queen’s

Image by: Amna Rafiq
The club jumps at DreamCatcher Farm. 

All Queen’s students can learn to ride horses, and the Queen’s Equestrian Club is the place to start. 

Equestrian has roots going back centuries­—as far back as ancient Greece—and then, more recently, as part of many hunting events. The sport has evolved in the modern day to include many different forms of competition. 

At Queen’s, riders of any background can connect with horses while learning valuable skills. 

“A lot of people don’t appreciate the connection that you build with the horse. The horse is like a teammate, and there is a lot of complexity in the sport to learn,” Hannah VanLeeuwen, ArtSci ’24 and co-president of the Equestrian Clubs said in an interview with The Journal.

VanLeeuwen described the social aspect of the club, where there’s an emphasis on building community and meeting members across the club. 

“Our instructor [Carol] has a lot of experience teaching beginner riders, so they are definitely in good hands with her,” she said. “We have 60 members of the club, and many different lesson times.”

Oftentimes, new riders will ride with members who have a little bit more experience so they can also get help and be drawn into the community of horse riding. 

For VanLeeuwen, the value of Equestrian comes from the performance and spirit of the sport. She believes there’s less pressure since the teammate in the sport is a horse. 

The experience as an avid rider has stuck with VanLeeuwen, and she felt a piece was missing during the height of the pandemic.

“Coming to university, through the first semester I felt a gap—I looked around, and we didn’t run during COVID-19, so this is our first year fully running.”

The Equestrian Club currently operates its riding classes around 20 minutes outside Kingston by car on DreamCatcher Farm. During the pandemic, VanLeeuwen found the farm through the Equestrian Club, despite restricted operations. 

“[The club] gives people the space to relax, and it’s a bit therapeutic. Before your lesson, you brush the horse—you take a second to pause and it helps add in that therapeutic element to my normal busy school schedule.”

VanLeeuwen explained how Equestrian—and sports in general—helps with mental health and gives people the chance to get explore. She believes even if you don’t stick with it, sports are a great way to meet people through sporting clubs.

The Equestrian Club offers flexibility since it’s only a semester commitment at a time, and it’s an engaging opportunity for those interested in working with animals.

“Getting the farm experience and being around animals, definitely is an opportunity to learn more,” VanLeeuwen said. 

For VanLeeuwen, the equestrian community is also highly inclusive, and she encourages anyone considering joining the club to ask many questions. 

Students can find the Queen’s Equestrian Club at the ASUS Sidewalk sale, Tricolour Open House, and can register through the Queen’s Recreation portal.

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