With recent tragedies striking Texas and Florida, cities are left with food shortages and destroyed houses. However,
communities have grown stronger than ever providing help.
The University of Toledo Equestrian Team held a fundraiser for individuals affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma on Sept. 15 outside Field House.
While the organization initially planned to hold a fundraiser for a cause later in the year, their plans quickly changed once Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.
"We were initially planning it for ourselves,” said third-year pharmacy major Nicole Archer. “When the hurricane started coming, we were like, ‘Why wait to do the fundraiser for those in need, later in the season, when the need is now?’"
After receiving positive feedback from UT students for bringing horses on campus last year, vice president of the Equestrian Team, Jami Melich, came up with the idea of holding a similar event this year.
Melich said it took the group two weeks to plan the event and get it set up. However, their work paid off since they were successful in raising a total of $402.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to Red Cross,” Melich said.
At the same time, the group wanted to provide the Toledo community with an enjoyable experience, Archer said.
Only being on campus for two years now, the group is looking to recruit more members. The equestrian team was originally started by third-year recreational therapy major Andrea Woo.
Woo, who has been riding for 13 years, had plans to continue competing once she graduated high school. However, upon realizing UT didn’t have an equestrian team as a first-year student, Woo created a team with the help of her trainer.
"I want people to be able to ride horses and like what we're riding through is the most inexpensive form of riding because you don’t have to have your own horse," Woo said.
Woo added that riders don’t have to worry about taking care of the horses and anyone without prior experience is welcomed to join. In her experience, riding horses can be very therapeutic while connecting people with animals.
Their two Western and English teams compete through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. The team is busy in preparing for their first show of the season on Sept. 23.
“A lot of people think that the team is only for experienced riders or that you have to have some sort of knowledge, but we're open to everyone,” Archer said.
She added even if students aren’t interested in competing and are willing to just take lessons or want to talk about horses, any of their member are more than open to speaking with them and welcoming newcomers.
Students interested in learning more about the Equestrian Team at UT can contact them via email.