Equestrian team members represent Kent State in regional competition


Katie Dosen, a sophomore exploratory major, rides the horse Flynn during the Kent State equestrian team’s practice on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 at their barn in Newbury, Ohio. Dosen is one of two girls going to the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone 6 Region 1 Regional Competition.

Sierra Allen

Two members from Kent State’s equestrian team will attend the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, Zone 6, Region 1 Regional Competition on March 12.

Sophomore exploratory major Katie Dosen participated in a previous show at the University of Findlay where she finished second place in her walk/trot/canter class that qualified her for the regional competition.

Jessica Reese, a senior visual communication design major, also qualified for the event by doing well at a previous show that took place at Lake Erie College.

“I’m ecstatic,” Reese said. “I’ve worked for this for so long, so with ending my (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) career, I couldn’t have chosen a better time to go to regionals. Personally, it’s pretty big because it’s a pretty big landmark for me for how far I’ve come in the past couple years, so I’m just really excited that I’ve made it this far and have been able to compete in regionals.”

Reese credits the support of her team for pushing her to where she is today.

Stephanie Low, a junior exercise major, is also part of the equestrian team and serves as the team’s treasurer. She recently “pointed up” from a beginner to advanced walk/trot/canter.

Low, riding since the age of three, hopes to qualify for the IHSA Regional Competition as well.

“It is actually a really big deal for people who get to go because at each show, you have to earn points to be able to move up to the next class level. Getting those points in some of the classes are pretty big (because) they only place the top six,” she said.

She is also inspired by her fellow teammates and friends for qualifying for the competition, and said that one of her goals is to compete at the regional competition by her senior year. 

The IHSA was founded in 1967. It makes it easier for college students to participate in horse shows independent of financial status or skill level.

“It’s really important because it lets people in any skill level compete and it levels the playing field (by) giving people opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Kara Wellman, a senior visual communication design major who also serves as the club’s president. “They’ve done a really great job this year … I’m really excited for them.”

Wellman has been on the team since her freshman year and started riding as a young child.

“I’ve been riding since I was 12, but I’ve always been a horse lover since I could talk,” she said.

Wellman also uses horseback riding as a way to relax.

“My favorite thing about horseback riding is that for a few hours, you can forget about everything that’s happening in the world around you,” she said.

Since 2015, the equestrian team has doubled its member count. New members are always welcome at the beginning of each season. Further, the team is always on the lookout for sponsors and other forms of financial support.

“The biggest obstacle for us is financial support, but people can (also) support us by definitely getting our name out there,” Wellman said. “Not a lot of people or other riders know about our team and our school is big enough to where our team could be bigger.”

Team members are coached at Skypoint Farm in Newbury, Ohio and are looking for new riders for the upcoming season. The equestrian team will be holding their first open house on April 9 and welcomes both high school seniors and Kent State students to attend.

Sierra Allen is a student life reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]