Photos courtesy of Marjorie Rodolosi and Paige Tynan
Emma Hamrick, Staff Writer
When sophomores Marjorie Rodolosi and Paige Tynan started a “Potential FSC Equestrian Team” Facebook group just one year ago, they took on an intensive project that would require the duo to navigate through as many hurdles as a hunter/jumper might face in a show ring. Yet within three semesters of setting foot on campus, the pair had established a new competition team and competed in their first Intercollegiate Horse Showing Association (IHSA) show.
“As captains of the team, Paige and I are excited to see not only our dreams, but everyone else’s involved in the Equestrian Team become a reality,” Rodolosi said.
With almost 70 Facebook group members and 20 consistent riders, the equestrian team grew from an idea to a reality.
“After a year and a half, we’ve accumulated extremely dedicated club/team members. Our trainer, Shannon, and our amazing faculty advisor, Dr. Goodmon, presented the idea of a new Equestrian Team to the athletics department. From there, we were able to sort out all the necessary figures,” Radolosi said,
Las spring, the equestrian team presented to SGA to petition to receive funds for lesson. However, they were unsuccessful in receiving the funding.
The ladies eventually turned to the FSC Athletic Department which eventually awarded the team funding.
“The hardest part was probably getting an official title for the team. While it was difficult to become official, we had plenty of support from faculty members and students,” Rodolosi said.
The team now trains out of English Oaks Equestrian Center in Lakeland. Team members train at least once per week.
“Most of our team rides English. We also show English under IHSA, however some members on our team that do not compete prefer to ride in western saddles during lessons. Our barn offers both English and Western,” Rodolosi said.
The team’s first competition took place March 12 when the women traveled to Kimberden Farm in Ocala to participate in the UF Invitational.
“The competition was tough,” Tynan said. “A majority of our riders placed. We took 9 ribbons home as a team, against 17 other schools, including Florida State, University of Tampa and SCAD, ranging from 6th to 1st place.”
The team continues to prepare for shows for the future spring season.
“This season we will be training and working hard for our upcoming show season, as we plan on competing in 5-10 shows. We also plan on making our philanthropy work more official and opening up more social membership options,” Tynan said.
Those interested in joining the equestrian team are welcomed by the captains.
“We are always open for new members. Perspective members can get involved by contacting me or Marjorie, or even our trainer and adviser. If members catch wind of a meeting, or see it advertised in our Facebook group or page, they are welcome to come to our team meetings for information, and to meet our executive board,” Tynan said.
The ladies also stressed that the team is not solely for experienced riders.
“The great thing about collegiate horse showing at FSC is that this can be the start of your riding career, not the end,” Rodolosi said.