A fledgling group at Ramona High School is beginning to fly—actually to race, jump, prance and run.
“The Ramona High School Equestrian team began its first team season last year but needed more approval for this year,” said coordinator and team adviser Carol Canfield. “The team was not approved until March but finished the season admirably.”
As a part of the San Diego Scholastic Equestrian League, the high school’s equestrian team season runs from January until May. The team is modeled after the International Equestrian Leagues in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
“I was approached about a Ramona team,” said Canfield. “It is a natural fit for Ramona’s horse community. I contacted the school, wrote a proposal, met with the ASB (associate student body) president and began lobbying for an equestrian club team here.”
Any student attending any high school within the district (Ramona High, Montecito High and Mountain Valley Academy) may join the team. During meetings, the students learn about horses, ask questions, get help from other members and find out about resources.
Fundraising and planning upcoming seasons are the current focus of discussions. As with any high school “team-driven” organization, the students run the group. The students are pressing to have the equestrian team become a lettered sport team on campus.
“I would like to see the group beginning to address horsemanship next season—learning details of a horse and different disciplines and such,” said Canfield. “The group could begin taking written tests in order to include an educational aspect with horse health, judging and so on.”
The benefit, according to most participants, is the team being a feeder program for collegiate endeavors. This allows the time for the students to participate in a competitive sport in high school.
“Many students don’t have time to go beyond the barn to get involved in another sport,” said Canfield. “These kids that have already been competing don’t have time to run track or some other sport at school. This club provides a venue to Ramona’s equestrian students that will help them participate—a feeder program to competing in college, allowing students to merge a sport with their school.”
Team membership not only has a positive reflection on college applications but also prepares the students to compete at the college level.
“The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) is the No. 1 organization in the western states,” said Canfield. “There are also NCAA teams in the western U.S. The response from parents has been the college connection.”
All students are welcome. It is not necessary to have a horse to participate in the educational aspect of team meetings.
“Most kids have trainers outside of the club,” said Canfield. “We don’t teach anyone to ride. Riding/competing would require a student to have his or her own horse. Students need to have their own horse and trainers, but, if someone just really loves horses and wants to learn about them, they are welcome to join us for learning!”
The team offers several different disciplines, including a western division (pleasure and reigning), hunters, jumpers and dressage.
The western division started this year.
“We are taking the horses to events, trailering and so on,” said Canfield. “We can be a source to supplement training on a regular basis beyond a students’ own practice program.”
Seven regular season shows in mixed venues with one championship show are offered, but students do not have to go into all shows. Two shows are held in Del Mar, three in Temecula and three in Bonita.
To be in a medal class, the student must compete in four shows.
For more information, contact Canfield at 760-613-1953.