The Equestrian Club at the University of Central Florida has seen a boost in member numbers, according to their website. This increase in activity is partly due to the addition of the eventing branch on the UCF competing team.

Eventing is a three-part competition where the horse and rider compete as a pair in a variety of tasks, according to the United States Eventing Association. The first phase of the competition is called dressage. Dressage is where the horse completes a series of predetermined movements based off of the cues of the rider.

The second part of the eventing competition is called cross-country, and this is where the horse gallops over a field and jumps a variety of obstacles.

The final phase of the competition is called show jumping, and this is where the horse jumps a pre-planned course in a fenced in arena.

Sophomore engineering major Rachel Morgan, a rider on the eventing team and one of the co-founders of the branch, said this discipline is an adrenaline rush.

“The best part is definitely cross country," Morgan said. "It’s the most fun and you get out there with the wind in your face and you are running; it feels like mock-6. It’s just a lot of fun to be out with just you and your horse running and jumping.”

Team captain and co-founder, junior biology major Victoria Markert, like Morgan, said she feels the cross country portion of eventing is the most fun. 

“It’s a lot of fun to just be on an open field going as fast as possible and jumping a bunch of jumps," Markert said. "It’s honestly the best feeling.”

Markert also said the start of the eventing branch brings more hope for the equestrian team, and it’s important for students to understand that they need no prior horse experience to join the club; people of all equestrian skill levels are welcome to join.

The team had its first team competition this past February against the University of Florida, and looks forward to the second meet in April.

For more information on the eventing branch, visit the Equestrian Club at UCF on Facebook.

Originally published March 8

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