Emory & Henry Website
Guest Contributor: Rebecca Pagnini
The Intermont Equestrian team is a program that attracts many students to Emory & Henry College. The team was preparing for their 23rd appearance at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championship when COVID-19 shut down competitions and classes at the barn.
The Intermont Equestrian program won the National Championship in 2018 and 2019, and they are “anxious and excited to get to go again this year,” said junior national champion, Abby McCoy. While all shows have been cancelled for the fall, the team is hopeful that they will get to show again in the spring.
The pandemic has challenged barns all over the country, and the E&H equestrian center is no exception. When campus shut down last spring, the coaches did their best to help their students get the most out of their classes during remote learning by mimicking the real classroom environment and using videos to demonstrate what they were teaching. However, McCoy noted, “nothing is quite the same as actually sitting on a horse’s back.”
While classes are back in person for most of the equestrian students this fall, life at the barn looks very different. Masks are required from the time a student gets out of their car until they are mounted on the horse. They are not required while a student is actively riding as each student is more than six feet apart, and they are intensely working out. The coaches are always wearing a mask and encouraging hand-washing. There are signs and posters hung up around the barn stating how many people can be in a certain room to encourage social distancing.
Lisa Mousemeller-Terry, the director of Intermont Equestrian, has been ensuring the equestrian students are following all of the rules and regulations, not only at the barn, but also on campus. “They really do just want to keep us all safe,” said McCoy.
While life is looking a little strange right now, the students and coaches at Intermont Equestrian are grateful that they are able to be in person this fall, and are looking forward to Nationals in the spring.