Last weekend, the equestrian team hosted its first home show in program history. The team performed well with three riders placing in the top three of their classes. The show’s overall success puts the team in a good position to host future shows.

After a show was canceled last spring, a spot opened up in the schedule, prompting Bowdoin’s league, the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association, to ask the team to host the show.

“We always wanted to have [a home show],” captain Carly Lappas ’17 said. “Normally teams have their traditional weekend [each year] ... so it was kind of hard to fit us in the schedule before now.”

Dartmouth College won the overall show, but Bowdoin, despite having a smaller club team, performed well. Bowdoin also performed well. Both Lappas and Meret Beutler ’19 placed first in their classes—the open flat class and the beginner walk-trot-canter class, respectively—and Maddie Bustamante ’17 placed third in the intermediate jumping class.

With nine shows per season and one show in the spring, the team’s results are often mixed. It did, however, place second in the last NESCAC show two years ago.

“We do okay. We don’t do great, and in part that is because we have a very small team,” said Tilly Tanga ’19. “We don’t have riders in every class, which means that the classes where we don’t have riders we’re obviously not going to win those classes...when we do have riders in the class we tend to do pretty well.”

Horse shows are divided into individual class events based on ability. Most team members have riding experience, while not necessarily competitively, and two had no prior experience riding before Bowdoin.

Bates and Middlebury, like Bowdoin, have small club teams, while other schools in the league, like Dartmouth, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Vermont are considered varsity and therefore receive more resources and support from their institutions.

“Most of the other teams that we compete against are varsity...they’re funded like our hockey team is funded...There [are] big disparities,” said Lappas.

As a club sport, the team’s entry fees and transportations are covered by Student Activities, however, each member must pay for their own lessons, which cost approximately $1,500 per year, per student.

Yet even with these setbacks, the team has doubled over the past four years and now consists of 15 women. According to Lappas, a number of them are likely to qualify individually for the regional horse shows.

Since over half of its members are seniors, the team is looking to recruit more underclassman, both men and women.

“It’s definitely more organized than some people might think,” Lappas said. “I don’t think people really understand what it is from the outside.”

The team will compete this weekend at shows hosted by Dartmouth and Colby-Sawyer in New Hampshire.