NC State University Recreation is excited to highlight NC State’s Equestrian Dressage club team as July’s Club Sport of the Month. This team won numerous titles during the 2014-15 school year and plan to build even more memories and acclaim this upcoming school year.
To look back on the successes of last year and the exciting future of NC State’s equestrian dressage, here’s our interview with team captain, Ashley Grandis.
University Recreation: How was last year’s club season?
Ashley: Wonderful! Last year, we won Overall Team Champion at our NC State IDA Homeshow. We competed at the St. Andrews University IDA Show, placing ahead of the host team and an additional Reserve Team Champion title. We won the Regional Team Reserve Champion for Region I during the 2014-15 year, an award we hadn’t won since 2008. In addition to our competitive success, we also earned the Community Service Award through Club Sports 2014-15 for our devotion to CORRAL (an organization that pairs rescued horses and at-risk girls for therapy) as our service project for the year.
University Recreation: What are you guys looking forward to the most?
Ashley: We are looking forward to gaining new members and growing our team at a new facility, SaddleTree Stables for the 2015-16 year. Greater scheduling flexibility, more affordable rates for our members, and a larger selection of horses to ride should lead us to even more success.
University Recreation: As the new members come in, what is the most important attribute necessary to becoming a valuable team member?
Ashley: The most important thing to becoming a valuable team member is dedication not only as a rider, but for all aspects of the club. For example, we have different events throughout the year such as bi-weekly meetings, clinics, fundraisers and community service events that are necessary components of being a member of the team. It is vital that members understand the importance of actively participate in these components in addition to the weekly riding lessons and various competitions.
University Recreation: When does the season start? How long is it?
Ashley: We start recruitment in August with RecFest during the first week of school. After that we host our interest meeting and tryouts a couple days after RecFest. After tryouts we solidify our team roster, and begin weekly lessons the first week of September. We typically have about 5-6 competitions throughout the year. We train and compete both Fall and Spring semesters, excluding Winter Break and Spring Break. Our season wraps up mid April, ending with Nationals if team members qualify.
University Recreation: What is your favorite thing about the team?
Ashley: This team consistently promotes professional, social, and personal growth. From a professional standpoint, the team provides a spectrum of leadership roles from being an active member all the way to taking on officer positions such as President. I finally was able to show on my resume the love I have for this sport throughout my life. Socially, the team creates life long friendships that make our time at NC State even better. I have found my “equestrian family” on through this team. The cherished memories I’ve shared with this group will always be with me.
University Recreation: Typical practice looks like?
Ashley: A typical practice consists of a weekly lesson with four riders per group. Riders are assigned horses by our coach, Jan Jacobson. Members will tack up his or her horse for the day and head to the riding arena for an hour lesson. Typically during a lesson, Jan will take turns working with different riders individually to give riders added personalized coaching. Typically, a few weeks before any competition we practice riding through our dressage tests.
University Recreation: What is a tradition your team has?
Ashley: As mentioned before, we all enjoy Mexican food and haunted trails. During the Fall we have a lot of competitions that sometimes end up pretty close together spanning from September through early November. Its become a tradition to go to a haunted house or trail at every weekend show when we travel. Additionally, our team frequents El Cerro pretty much every time we get back into town after a day show.
University Recreation: What does a rider need to do to join your squad?
Ashley: In order to join the team a rider needs to attend RecFest and/or communicate via Facebook or email found in the club sports directory to inform current officers of their interest on the team. Potential members should attend the interest meeting and those who chose to take the next step will attend tryouts at our equine facility. Those trying out will pay a small fee for the use of the facility, coach and horses for the day approximately $15. Tryouts will be based on skill, and also availability per division level. After tryouts those who made the cut will pay a small fee for club dues to join in order to be a member for the year.
The Wolfpack equestrian dressage club’s commitment to success in the arena and in the community is evident. A multitude of honors paired with an impact for the greater good showcases their passion for sustained excellence, which we are excited to follow.
Additional contact with the equestrian dressage team can be done through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.