One of many club organizations on campus, the Trinity College Equestrian Team has proved they are more than capable of not only competing against varsity riders but also beating them. The team has riders that compete in every division, which gives them the advantage of accumulating the maximum amount of points towards winning competitions.
Team co-captains Jen Dorfman and Emily Sesko take the team seriously, and hope to increase the visibility on campus of its extremely successful program.
How long have you been riding, both non-competitively and competitively?
Emily Sesko: I’ve been riding since I was about five or six, but I only started competing my sophomore year.
Jen Dorfman: I have been riding since I was five and I started competing when I was 7.
Why did you decide to continue riding during your years at Trinity?
ES: I actually transferred from Providence College after my freshman year there. When I learned that the school had a team I knew I wanted to compete. I spoke to Coach Kriwitsky about joining the team.
JD: When I was applying to colleges one of the things I was looking for was an equestrian team, so when I decided to come to Trinity I knew immediately that I would be riding here. I even brought my horse with me.
What can you tell me about your coach and the sort of role she has played in the development of the team?
ES: Coach Kriwitsky has taught us to push ourselves further than we thought we could, she is a big part of the reason that we are able to compete with varsity teams. She is 100% serious about us doing our best.
JD: Amy rode at the University of Connecticut and is very knowledgeable and helpful during lessons. She is willing and happy to have anyone join the team and help prepare them for competition.
How has riding shaped you as a student-athlete?
ES: You need to build in at least two or three hours a day for the days you go to the barn for lessons, which requires a lot more organization.
JD: It has definitely taught me to manage my time and taught me the responsibility of having to manage two different worlds.
This season has been the best season the TC Equestrian team has had in recent years. What do you think has played a key role in your team’s development?
ES: This is the first time since Amy has signed on that a rider as qualified for Zones. The team has more depth this year, so at shows we have a lot of riders who are able to point-out of certain divisions.
JD: I personally took riding and competing a lot more seriously this year and I made my way to the barn a lot more. I go pretty much every day now. As a team, everyone has matured and we all take everything more seriously in regards to lessons and competitions.
How has the team benefitted from competing against Division I teams?
ES: The competitiveness of the team is not reliant on varsity versus club, rather rider-to-rider seeing what the competition is doing and using that to improve.
JD: The level of competition is up to par of where we want to be. We are able to compete against the Division I teams and it benefits us to see these highly-competitive programs during competition.
What can be done to further improve the team for next year’s season?
ES: We should start seriously training the team as a sports team rather than a group of girls together to have fun. There is not as much of a consciousness on campus that we are a team, so I think even taking the small step among our group to acknowledge our presence as a sport.
JD: I definitely agree with Emily, we have to establish ourselves as more of a team. We need to take responsibility for our actions and begin treating ourselves as a competitive group who exudes full commitment to the sport.
What has been the most influential moment of your riding career at Trinity thus far?
ES: I had to get held from shows because I did not want to point-out of my division, because if I pointed-out I would have to compete in a new division at regionals which would have made it even more stressful.
JD: During our last show of the regular season it was really close between me and another rider. I had severely messed up the flat and she had won, but it came down to the last class and I won that. Overall I had the most points and that is how I got my bid for nationals.
Dorfman will compete in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania May 2-5 at the National Competition. When asked what her main objective of Nationals was, she answered, “I’d really like to be called back through the jumping round to be able to compete in flat.” It is this sort of goal of improvement that both Sesko and Dorfman exude.
Equestrian made its debut in the Olympics in 1900 and it is the hope of the Trinity equestrian team that they will debut at Trinity as a varsity team sometime in the near future. Until then, they will continue to practice and compete at a high level in order to build a name for the team in the riding community.