By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
Baylor Riding Association seeks to be a home at the university for anyone interested in horses, whether they have been riding their entire life or simply want to learn more. They brought several horses to the Baylor campus from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday at Fountain Mall in order to raise awareness about the club and let students interact with the horses.
McKinney senior Jazmin Ramos has been involved in the organization for all four years she has been at Baylor, and currently serves as the club’s president. She enjoys the opportunities that the club has given her to spend time with both horses and other Baylor Riding Association members.
“Some of us love waking each other up in the morning to go ride,” Ramos said. “Me and my friend go out and ride Tuesday and Thursdays at 6 in the morning, and we’re back at 9 for class at 11.”
Ramos said the club meets on a weekly basis and is open to students of all levels of experience with horses. Students can also participate in a guest ride for $20 where they can ride horses for the day.
“You don’t have to have experience with horses to join the club. I don’t come from a horse background, but other members have competed and been riding for years. There’s a wide range of experience,” Ramos said. “We meet once a week for a general meeting, and we organize who goes to feed the horses since they need to get fed every day. We also have trail leaders who are certified by the club to lead out trails and know basic horse safety and emergency procedures.”
Bringing the horses to Baylor’s main campus was a way to publicize their organization but also provide relief for stressed out students.
“We’ve been bringing horses to campus for at least eight years, it’s a great way to get our name out,” Ramos said. “We let students know they can go pet the horses and they usually love to come over. Some people bring their dogs to meet the horses, and professors will sometimes bring their kids as well.”
Johnson City sophomore Danielle Sanchez is Baylor Riding Association’s vice president, and loves the unique role that horses have served and continue to serve in her life.
“Horses have always been a big part of my life – I’ve been riding since I was about 4 years old, and taking care of friend’s horses whenever I could,” Sanchez said. “I’ve always had this irresistible pull and connection with them that I’ve never felt with other animals. They won’t follow you blindly and definitely have a mind of their own, and I think that’s part of what makes them special. You get what you put into them and it’s a very mutual relationship.”
Sanchez said she appreciates the fact that the club is open to students with a variety of different experiences with horses, but that all members share a common interest and passion for getting involved.
“This club is the best kind of therapy,” Sanchez said. “People from all different backgrounds and coming from so many different places can all come together and connect over their mutual love of horses. It doesn’t matter whether you know everything there is about horses or have never touched one in your life- BRA is welcome to everyone.”
Sanchez has valued the bonds that BRA has allowed her to form both with the horses and with other club members she spends time with.
“Caring for and enjoying such powerful animals like horses gives you a sense of awe and also overwhelming love,” Sanchez said. “The club and the horses have a way of bringing people together over a mutual interest.”
Ramos also appreciates the opportunities that being a member of BRA has allowed her, and hopes that the club continues to expand and welcome in new members looking to get involved.
“We’ve had horses that have been in the club for the past eight years- we have one who is around 20 or 22 and our youngest is about eight. They carry lots of weight on trail rides and put in good work, which gives us great opportunities within the club,” Ramos said. “A goal this semester is to have more people participating and involved- BRA is a great program with all we offer and how much availability and freedom members get in the club.”
Ramos encourages those interested in joining BRA to follow the club on social media platforms (@buridingassoc) and attend club meetings, which are at 7 p.m. on Thursdays in BSB A236.