Last Saturday, Officer Randy Mitchell took 20 students to Reba Farm Inn in Bedford, Va. for a Western Pleasuring Ride sponsored by RC’s Outdoor Adventures.
The last 2 years or so, this group had been a part of the Equestrian Club, which was advised by Mitchell.Â This year, OA took back that responsibility and has had great success.Â This is the 2nd of 3 trips for this semester.Â Mitchell also plans to hold 3 events in the spring.
“We try to do an over-night trip too; the students really enjoy that,” Mitchell said. “They get to ride for a few hours, pitch a tent and make dinner.”
This event on Oct. 29 was no ordinary trip.Â Because of the deal Mitchell has with the farm, and OA offering to sponsor half of the cost, students were able to attend for very little cost to each. Mitchell had found 20 interested students but as the date came closer, they started to back out for various reasons.Â Bryan Ryberg, Director of Intramurals & Recreation, said that if he was able to secure the 20 necessary students in time, they could attend for free.
Down to only 8 students on the morning of the trip, Mitchell thought quickly on his feet.Â He walked to the back quad, spotted a few students and invited them along.Â They accepted and asked if their friend could join as well.Â Desperate for riders, Mitchell welcomed that.Â He moved along to the front quad and invited more students who were just as eager to accept.Â He ended up finding exactly 12 students necessary to take the trip to Bedford.
“I was a first time rider,” Esther Prempeh ’15 said. “I had the best time. The horses were wonderful, and the trainers were really helpfulÂ and encouraging.”
The students went out in 2 groups, to face obstacles, trails, and a plateau that encourages the horses to run.
“We don’t make them do anything they’re not comfortable with,” Mitchell said.
They warned the students of what was to come, working up their confidence and comfort before the bigger obstacles and faster paces.Â Mitchell said, however, all the students ran the horses on the plateau.
“It was absolutely beautiful and we were able to do much more than other places I have been to have let me do on a ride,” Stephanie Clements ’14 said.