Rhodes College Equestrian Team

Established in 2012, the Rhodes College Equestrian Club has grown from a handful of students to a current roster of 23. In 2015 the club joined the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and began competing in Zone 5 Region 1. Club membership is open to all skill levels, and includes riders with a variety of equestrian backgrounds. Some riders join the team having never ridden a horse, while others have many years of riding and competition accolades. Regardless of experience, all student athletes have the opportunity to ride and compete in the IHSA, or just enjoy club camaraderie with monthly gatherings and equine education opportunities. The Rhodes Equestrian Team fosters team unity, promotes excellence in practice and competition, and provides a safe and supportive environment where members can improve their riding ability.

The riding team is currently hosted by Christian and McKrell Baier at Southern Blues Equestrian Center in Collierville, TN. Through the partnership with Southern Blues Equestrian Center, Rhodes students are able to access quality training, clinics, and educational workshops that ultimately value and respect the well-being of our amazing partners – our horses.

Sarah Saunders, Head Equestrian Coach, inherited her passion for horses from her mom, a life-long equestrian. Her family has kept horses on their property in Austin, Texas, and she took her first riding lesson for her eighth birthday. In 2009 she began riding for Texas Christian University and was on their NCAA Hunt Seat Team for four years, while obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduating in 2014, she moved to Memphis and began as assistant coach for the Rhodes College Equestrian Team the following Fall semester. In Spring 2016 she became the Head Coach of the team. She appreciates how the IHSA format gives all students the opportunity to compete regardless of their experience level.

2018-2019 Goals
This season the team has doubled in size, adding 14 new members, 8 of whom are first year students. The focus this fall is to build a strong foundation for this young team to prepare for spring competitions. For many these will be their first competitions, so a balanced seat, confidence in riding basics and safe horse handling skills are a top priority, as well as preparing them mentally about what to expect at IHSA shows. The team also has a couple of returning upperclassmen who are close to qualifying for Regionals in Sewanee, Tennessee this year.

Recently the team attended the Horse Fair and Food Truck Festival, September 29, 2018 at the Germantown Charity Horse Show Arena. Saunders said, “The team really enjoyed attending the event. It was a great opportunity for our new members to learn about different disciplines while supporting our host farm, Southern Blues Equestrian Center, as jump crew in their jumping demonstration. The students had a table with baked goods for donations, and enjoyed educating patrons about the Equestrian Team. We met many new faces and maybe a few future Rhodes riders, as well!” 

Their next competition will be in Murfreesboro at MTSU on February 9-10, 2019. Then they will travel to Murray State at Murray, Kentucky March 2-3, 2019. Regionals will be March 8, 2019, hosted by the University of the South in Sewanee, TN.  

Find more information about the team on facebook at: Rhodes College Equestrian Team.

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