The FIU equestrian team will soon ride again. Head coach Daniela Roy trains her Golden Panthers every Tuesday and Thursday in the morning at the International Equestrian Center of Southwest Ranches for competitions and horse shows throughout Florida and parts of Georgia.
There are eight members who comprise both a team and a club. They are on a short break now, but will start training again in January during the first week of school when new people will likely join the team. Their first competition for the spring semester will be on Feb. 15 and 16 in Savannah, Georgia.
This past fall, when the team competed in Savannah, Vice President Clara Vidal took third place. “I believe in horsemanship,” Vidal said. “That’s why I love the sport so much.” Each team member is required to groom and manage their own horse, which can be challenging, she said.
The team will have several competitions this spring, at Florida State University Feb. 29 and March 1, and at the University of Florida March 14 and 15. The latter event will determine who will continue to nationals.
Coach Roy sees the team going to nationals and representing FIU. The president of the FIU equestrian team, Lauren Iten, warns riders should take before mounting. Horses, she added, require extensive gear like a saddle, bridle and their very own shoes.