Head coach Danielle Cole com­mitted to the Hillsdale eques­trian team this fall, helping refine and develop a program that holds a legacy of national com­pe­tition par­tic­i­pants.

Since the eques­trian team was rein­tro­duced to campus two years ago, it has been closely tied to the eques­trian club, though now the team seeks to sep­arate the two groups.

“Pre­vi­ously [the club and the team] had existed together and this year we are def­i­nitely sep­a­rating [them]. That is what we are trying to fix this year,” said senior Anna Purzycka, co-pres­ident of the team and hunt seat captain. “The eques­trian club is headed out by a dif­ferent person, and that is social things like trail rides; the eques­trian team, which is reg­is­tered with the club recre­ational sports, is only com­peting.”

The sep­a­ration is pos­sible since Cole decided to coach the team. Cole coaches riders at Premier Eques­trian Center in Hudson, Mich., and is a friend of Kathy Connor, the faculty advisor of the eques­trian club and team.

“[Connor] does a great job, but she can only be spread so thin – being our advisor and a coach and filling all the other posi­tions. It just helps having an actual coach forming the team,” junior Daniel Kish, co-pres­ident and western captain said.

The team has 11 com­peting members and two members who only practice. Each member typ­i­cally either com­petes in hunt seat – also know as English style – or western style. Before each show, the team will practice once.

“We are opti­mistic – most of the riders will be attending and showing in the com­pe­tition. It being my first year, I’m not so sure what to expect from the com­pe­tition, but you know, we’ll go ready for whatever happens,” Cole said.

Before the eques­trian team dis­banded, Hillsdale’s team won at Nationals. The team hopes to build up to that level again.

“Our advisor Pro­fessor Connor said years ago they had a regular com­peting team that won at the national level and they had talked about it and that’s kind of where they want to get it back to,” Kish said.

Kish and Purzycka men­tioned that donors have been encour­aging in restarting the team.

“In the past there have been donors who have wanted to donate horses,” Kish said. “Pro­fessor Connor said there was one donor who wanted to build us a full facility with arena and stalls and every­thing, so I know there are donors out there.”

The team’s first show for hunt seat and western com­pe­ti­tions will be Oct. 5 – 6.

“I’m thrilled that we have had the response this year that we have had as far as the numbers,” Cole said. “Really it is about getting them showing and getting them some expe­rience, and hope­fully indi­vidual riders move up to the next level.”