What’s more exhilarating than entering a ring on your horse and riding it around a course of jumps in front of an audience to show off your skills and compete? How about doing it on a horse you have never ridden before? This is what the University at Buffalo Equestrian Team (UBET) does at every competition they compete in. What, UB has an equestrian team? This is the question riders on the team hear almost every time the team or sport is mentioned.

Although the team has been small and somewhat unknown in the past, the members are working to increase the size and reputation, so far succeeding with great success. The past few years have been rocky with barn changes, unstable trainers and coaches along with unclear team goals. The 2012-2013 competition year began with a barn switch to the Walnut Grove Farm in Alden, NY, under the instruction of Beth Walkowicz.  “It was kind of a last minute decision, which made it tough,” admits team captain Cheryl Movsesian, “but now that we've all settled in, you can really  see the growth of the team both in our riding and relationships with one another. We've always just been riders on the team, but now it feels like we’re riders part of a team.”  And it shows.  At every show the team improves a little bit more, and they are finally being seen as competition for other schools in the region. In fact, at the last show, UB placed 3rd out of 13 teams, beating out last year’s number one team, Cornell, a feat that had never been accomplished by the team.  The team already has one rider qualify for regional’s and they are looking to get two more qualified in the next show and even more throughout the rest of the year. If riders can make it through the regional, they may qualify for zones, then nationals!

So, how can you help keep the team continue to gallop? UBET is doing a fundraiser at the Walden Galleria on Friday, Nov. 30th from noon until the mall closes. There will be refreshments, raffles, and other fun activities kickoff the beginning of the winter season. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center in East Aurora, NY. So come stop by our tables, meet the team, ask questions, and enjoy a wonderful day of Christmas shopping!