The Brandeis Equestrian Team is one of the 21 club sports teams on campus according to the Brandeis Athletics website. This week, I had the chance to reach out to some members of the Equestrian Team to hear about their club and their hopes for their upcoming semester.

This sport in general has a rich history which dates back to 680 BCE in Greece, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia. In these times, chariot races were newly introduced to the Ancient Olympic Games, the inspiration for our modern Olympic games which were first held in Athens, Greece in 1896, according to a 2010 History Article

The Brandeis Equestrian Team is under the direction of Coach Megan Miller and Captains Alexander Martin ’22 and Izzy Eisendrath ’22. They have about 15 returning members this spring semester and hope to recruit more at the upcoming Spring Involvement Fair. Practices are structured such that each member can attend once or twice a week in one of the four to five person group practices. After speaking with the two captains of the team, I was told that no experience is necessary and the team's small size facilitates a tight knit community. 

Members of the team continue to return to practice week after week for various reasons. In an interview with the Justice, when asked “what is the best part about being on the Brandeis Equestrian Team?” Martin answered, “I would definitely say the competitions. I really like competing! Though we have our season mostly in the fall, which usually includes six competitions, we do have two to three scheduled for this [spring] semester.” Senior Eisendrath said, “The animals! Not only do we get to hang out with horses, but there's also barn dogs and barn cats!”

Unlike other sports that play games or compete in competitions, equestrian competitions are known as shows. These shows are commonly held at the barn of the host team. Brandeis competes in Zone 1, Region 4 of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Other schools in the zone and region are Tufts University, Wellesley College, Boston College, Boston University, Bridgewater State University, Wheaton College, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Endicott College. 

The big question everyone asks … where are the horses? It seems to be a big secret where the horses are housed. When asked this question, Martin joked, “Well, let me tell you, they’re in the basement of Gosman, you know, you can hear their sound at night …” Eisendrath continued the riff, telling the Justice: “We will never tell you where we keep our horses.” In reality, the horses are housed on Cornerstone Farm in Haverhill, MA about 40 minutes north of the Brandeis campus.

Like many other Brandeis club sports, the Equestrian Team also faced a few setbacks as a result of COVID-19. Martin explained that for a significant time, Brandeis COVID-19 restrictions prevented the team from traveling off campus and thus, prevented them from practicing. This resulted in the loss of members and the need for major recruitment once travel restrictions off-campus loosened.

The overall feel of the team is a fun and warm community full of people who are brought together for various reasons. Whether it be for the love of animals or the desire to compete, the Brandeis Equestrian Team is open to students of all experience levels. Martin spoke fondly about the team stating, “I love the team spirit that we have and I feel like you see that spirit and camaraderie, especially during the shows when everyone is cheering for their teammates. The competitions are a nice way to be with and socialize with most of the members of the team.”