By Katie Muller
On Feb. 16, the LIU Post Equestrian Team lost one of its talented members — George, a grade horse who has been part of the team long enough to watch many of its former and current riders trot off into adulthood.
A school horse at the North Shore Equestrian Center, George was one of the horses chosen to teach the new riders on the equestrian team how to ride. His patience and tolerance towards the fumbling, apprehensive new riders in his saddle created ideal and impeccable learning experiences, allowing the new riders to return to him one day with the skills they needed to compete in horse shows and competitions across Long Island. While most of George’s history is unknown, the barn locals knew he loved spending time in the company of the ponies and squealed cutely when one touched his stomach.
Members of the equestrian team proudly shared their memories of their beloved teammate.
“George was an old soul with a spark of life in him. He aimed to please and his gentle manner made even the most inexperienced rider feel like a superstar. He was deeply loved by all and his memory will live in the hearts of the team,” said Christina Cepeda, a sophmore Psychology major. “He has been with us for so long, it’s hard to believe that he will no longer be one of the few “greeters” at the door when you walk in the barn. He was so sweet and so compassionate, and he just loved to go, go, go,” said Kathryn Brust, a sophmore Management major.
“George was one of the most kind-hearted and loving animals I’ve ever met. He was always so eager to get in the ring and make sure you enjoyed your lesson,” said Christina Kotarski, a sophomore Adolescent English-Education major. “George was truly the ‘one of a kind’ horse who will be forever missed and loved,” Kotarski added.
“He was my first horse, and I was really attached to him. He loved Altoids,” said Wolfgang Kovac, a freshman Science major.
“He was the second horse I ever rode. He was one of the most lovable horses ever,” stated Justin Rankin, a sophmore Psychology major. The riding instructors for the team also felt the loss. “He was a treasure, and our program will be incomplete without him. He was loved by many people and will be missed by many more,” said Jennifer Hennick, one of the instructors for the equestrian team. Linda Crouse, another instructor for the team, also shared her feelings about George, stating that he was “helpful and trustworthy” and “deserves a big plaque.”In dedication, the team will place flowers on his stall and give carrots to the rest of the horses at the barn as soon as possible.
The LIU Post Equestrian Team is a co-educational sport, which is directed by the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). Through IHSA, students and riders are able to complete in a fair playing field against riders of various skills and financial statuses. As stated on the LIU website, “The LIU Post Equestrian Team competes in IHSA – Zone 2 Region 4 against neighboring schools from Long Island and New York City.” Last semester, the LIU Post Equestrian Team ranked highest on Long Island through IHSA. The team is open to accepting undergraduate or graduate students and welcomes all levels of riders – from experienced to beginner.
All riders are placed into lesson groups and given horses based on their ability level, and hourly lessons are given once a week throughout each semester. The dues, which cover the IHSA membership, USEF insurance and weekly lessons, cost $300 for new members and $250 for returning. Lessons take place on campus at the North Shore Equestrian Center (NSEC), which features a large indoor arena and two outdoor rings, as well as a small café and lounge for viewing lessons.