Susquehanna University & Lycoming College Teams
Summer Breeze Stables is proud to be the training home of the Susquehanna University Equestrian Team, coached by Jan Phillips, and the Lycoming College Equestrian Team, coached by Rachel Martin. As any team-mate will tell you, being a member of an equestrian organization allows for individual and group growth far beyond what you learn in the saddle.
Equestrian teams offer a sense of camaraderie and teamsmanship, no matter what your level of riding. Many members of both teams had never ridden at all, or had only ridden for a very short time. They report feeling welcomed by more experienced riders and nurtured by their coaches. As one rider offers, “I had very little experience riding…and I didn’t ever feel discouraged to learn. Jan and the team encouraged me even when I wasn’t confident with myself, and that’s what I think is great about this team.” Another rider explains, “we get to know everybody on the team, not just as riders in the ring at shows, but as individuals.” Whether it’s “helping each other get ready and get on our horses before our classes,” or at the barn during lessons, “our teammates help each other with things like tacking up, polo wraps, or sweeping. There is always something to be done and it’s a great feeling knowing you can ask a teammate for help.”
Asking for help is something most of us struggle with, even though we know that that is what helps us grow as individuals and as a group. There’s nothing like riding to help you build that skill. One rider clarified, “I have learned that it is okay to ask for help. Personally, I have learned that helping others is what creates a stronger bond on a team…your teammates are there to help.”
Maybe because of that willingness to help each other, confidence is a common theme when riders report on their experiences. As one rider says, “I am learning to be more self-confident and to believe in myself more.” The research of Amy Cuddy, Harvard professor, demonstrates how “power poses”—postures like Wonder Woman’s—actually make people feel more confident and productive in work and personal relationships. Wait until you see the power poses that horse-back riding teaches!
Another key skill riders learn is how to take criticism, and that’s a skill any boss recognizes and looks for in new employees. Riders say things like, “I have learned to take criticism because I know that that is the only way one can learn, and our coaches want us all to be the best that we can be.”
Riders take on important responsibilities on the team, gaining leadership skills along the way. Whether it’s organizing a show, managing time between lessons and school, or communicating with fellow schools and coaches, riders become stronger in ways that go far beyond the lesson and show rings. There’s an old English saying that there’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of everyone.