High Impact Learner: Active Pursuits

Julia Freed '16 learns value leadership skills through equestrian team

Horseback riding has always played a large role in the life of Julia Freed '16. So when applying to colleges, she looked for schools that had equestrian clubs. 

Upon arriving at Gettysburg, Freed wasted little time getting involved in her favorite pastime, signing up for the equestrian team at an activities fair early in her freshman year.

She would not regret the decision. While her initial goals were to continue to improve her riding and meet other students with similar interests, she has gained much more.

In high school, Freed did not have the opportunity to compete, but that quickly changed when joining the Gettysburg equestrian team. Competing in the advanced walk, trot, and canter division, she celebrated her collegiate debut by winning her class at a show held at Penn State. 

Her first-year success would continue throughout the season, culminating with a trip to the Zone Finals – an impressive achievement that is granted only to the top-two riders in each region that had accumulated the most points in their division for the season. Zone Finals were held at Centenary College, where Freed turned in another stellar performance, winning her class.

Gettysburg’s equestrian team is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and competes in Zone 3, Region 1 along with Bucknell University, Dickinson College, Lebanon Valley College, Lycoming College, Penn State University, Susquehanna University, and Wilson College. The team is coached by Janis Groomes and trains at Middle Creek Stables in nearby Fairfield. Gettysburg typically takes part in around 10 shows each season.

“Horse shows are a great opportunity for team members of all levels and even if you’re not competing, they are a fun way to get off campus and show support for the team,” said Freed, a sophomore biology major from Manorville, N.Y. “The team dinners, trips to the bowling alley, and even a go-karting trip have also been a lot of fun, and have been a great way to get to know everyone on the team.”

Now in her second year with the equestrian team, Freed has not only had the chance to compete, but also to perform in a role of a leadership. She was elected as the team’s assistant horse show coordinator this year.

“It basically means I have to help make sure that anyone who is competing is dressed, on their horse, and ready for their class,” she said. “This has already helped me learn leadership as well as organizational skills. Also, I had never been on a real team before, and being a part of the equestrian team has taught me the value of teamwork, and how to work with a variety of people.”

Freed will also join her teammates this year as they volunteer their time at Hoffman Homes Center for Youth, a nearby residential psychiatric treatment facility which has a therapeutic horseback riding program. She has begun training for a program in which the team works directly with the horses and children.

The Equestrian Team is one of eight club sports offered at Gettysburg College, along with fencing, ice hockey, men’s rugby, Tae Kwon Do, ultimate frisbee, water polo, and women’s rugby. In 2012-13, nearly 300 students were a member of a club sport.

There are many opportunities for students to be involved in active pursuits that inspire leadership, including the GRAB program, varsity sports, and campus recreation.

Read about other high impact learners at Gettysburg College: Aleksandra Petkova '14, social justice and service; Molly Reynolds '14, the arts; and Helena Yang '14, student/faculty research.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Braden Snyder, director of athletic communications 717.337.6527

Posted: Sun, 20 Oct 2013

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