There aren’t many kids who’ve grown up with access to horses and the ability to ride, especially if you’re from the city. But that doesn’t have to mean the opportunity to try something new isn’t out there. The DU Equestrian Club aims to be a place for students to make new friends and push themselves out of their comfort zone, or continue to compete in events if they’re already experienced. New Presidents Zoe Coakley and Robbie Kearns for the 2020/21 year are excited to bring their love and passion for the sport to Trinity students. It is clear that while this may not be the most mainstream club, it is an accomplished one with an impressive history.
“Kearns further debunks the belief that members need to have ridden before by saying himself and fellow President Coakley are “really trying to push the fact that this is not the case.”
One of the selling points of DUEC is that you do not have to be experienced in riding in any way. Kearns advocates for the “inclusivity” of the club, stating: “All students are welcome to join and take part in many activities, even if they have never seen a horse before.” While it may seem intimidating at first, joining with no background or knowledge of this world, the club offers riding lessons for first-timers. Captain Ciara Gilroy explains: “Following on from previous years, we will hold Give-It-A-Go Lessons to allow potential and new students to try out our lessons.” More experienced riders have the opportunity to represent Trinity at competitions. Kearns further debunks the belief that members need to have ridden before by saying himself and fellow President Coakley are “really trying to push the fact that this is not the case.” So, if learning to ride a horse and eventually compete sounds interesting at all, then this is the club to join!
DUEC isn’t purely about riding horses, but also offers lessons and competition in polocrosse. Polocrosse is a mix of polo and lacrosse. Gilroy speaks from her own experience: “Polocrosse is something that I tried for the first time in first year and it’s something that I really recommend to anyone that has ridden before and wants to try something new.” It seems like polocrosse is worth giving a shot.
“DUEC is a place where “like-minded people” can join together and improve themselves, as well as give members an opportunity to ride even if they have had to leave their own horse at home.”
Coakley has a familiar background with DUEC, as her older sister and brother were members and she was able to see “firsthand the fun they got out of the club”. She decided to “throw herself into it from the beginning of college” and does not regret it at all! Growing up riding horses and ponies, this was a passion she was able to continue through college. She says that DUEC is a place where “like-minded people” can join together and improve themselves, as well as give members an opportunity to ride even if they have had to leave their own horse at home. Kearns also has been riding since his childhood, specifically since he was about three years old. He was a part of the Limerick Pony Club until the age of 15 and then began three-day eventing. He is pursuing eventing professionally, so he is quite an accomplished president to have heading the club. Even though Kearns had a background as an equestrian, he said he was “dragged by a friend to the DUEC freshers night.” He emphasizes the importance that immersing himself in the club in college had for him, remarking that it was the “real highlight of my time in college and I made so many lifelong friends.”
This is a club that is not only accessible, but also has a history to be proud of.
In November of 2019, the DU Equestrian Club was nominated for Sports Club of the Year by Trinity Sport. The club had a fantastic year, hosting and winning at Intervarsities. They are looking forward to continuing their impressive performance in coming years. “Covid depending, we compete in 3 main competitions throughout the year, which also gives out more experienced riders a chance to ride in a competitive zone, plus they include a fun weekend away,” notes Gilroy. Other than performing well in events and competitions, the club hosts a variety of events throughout the year for members to attend and be involved in, including an annual ball.
For any avid horse lover or just any student looking to get more involved in college sport, the DU Equestrian Club is perfect to give a shot and meet some amazing fellow Trinity students in the process.