Quinnipiac club equestrian axed

Katie O'Keefe

The Quinnipiac club equestrian team is no longer approved by the university as of May 13, according to an email from the club’s president, Michelle Kirkham.

“This is incredibly frustrating and I am sure everyone is going to be greatly upset too,” Kirkham wrote.

Mike Medina, associate athletic director for intramurals, said that the insurance of running an equestrian club was too expensive and there would not be enough time before the 2019 fall semester to find a cheaper insurance plan, according to the email.

“Unfortunately, with the insurance side of things, we were not able to get [club equestrian] covered due to the high risk nature of the sport,” Medina said.

Kirkham, along with 32 other students in the email list, were interested in joining the club.

“We were in the very early stages of planning and everyone involved was very excited to see the sport develop,” Georgina Lloyd, a Quinnipiac senior, said. “That being said, club sports has been a long battle and I think the focus should be on supporting those sports still affiliated.”

Originally, ten club sports were approved by the university on April 10, including club equestrian.

When Medina received more than 20 club sport applications, the equestrian team stood out.

“I think with what we were looking to do, was, trying to encompass as many teams as possible,” Medina said. “When you look at the ability for club equestrian to be a club sport, it kind of fit the mold.”

Shortly after equestrian was announced as a Quinnipiac club team, Medina mentioned to the equestrian representatives that the team’s insurance policy was a problem. Further, Medina said they were “working to try and find an alternative.”

That alternative, Medina explained, was to find a way around the university’s insurance. But ultimately, there was no other way to support club equestrian. However, Quinnipiac is looking at other schools to see how they operate a club equestrian team.

JC’s outdoor ring.

The team originally planned to partner with a local farm, JC Eventing, in North Haven, Connecticut, to use its facilities. The farm would have provided its stable, riding ring and horses for the Quinnipiac club and, actually, still plans to do so.

Now, Kirkham, JC Eventing and the club advisor, Donna Latella, professor of occupational therapy, plan to run an unaffiliated equestrian team, according to Kirkham’s email.

The email also explained that the team wanted to compete in the IHSA, the intercollegiate horse shows association. But now that the club is not funded by the university, riders cannot show at the intercollegiate level. Kirkham addressed in the email that the price to join the now-unaffiliated team has dropped significantly.

Although the team cannot be recognized right now, Medina is hopeful for the future.

“I would certainly encourage [club equestrian] to apply during the open application process in the future,” Medina said. “Again, I think it’s too early for me to fully be able to answer whether or not we can bring them onboard and I can’t give a timeline on that either.”

In order to adhere to the rules of Title IX, the university had to admit a certain ratio of men-to-women club sports. Of the 21 teams that applied, three men’s teams, six women’s teams and one co-ed team were originally approved.

Now, with one less women’s team, the university has approved club softball in place of club equestrian.

“We looked at what had comparable numbers to what we had originally allocated with equestrian. We had allocated 15 roster spots [for club equestrian],” Medina said. “So, we looked at softball and they had 18 roster spots in their application and that was very comparable.”

Club softball will begin competing in the fall of 2019.

Updated May 14 at 5:33 p.m.