On the Net
For more information about the Dawson County Equestrian Club, go online at www.unicornvalleyfarm.com.
In its second year, interest in the Dawson County Equestrian Club is taking off.
Director Carol Gauss said her team of 13 girls and two boys is getting ready for next month’s regional finals.
Made up of middle school and high school-aged kids from across the county, the club belongs to the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, which introduces young people to competitive equestrian games.
Gauss said being on the team has other advantages as well.
“Learning how to handle stress for one thing, you learn that real quick,” Gauss said. “The kids learn sportsmanship too.”
The local team is one of 150 in its zone. Zones are made up of regions.
Dawson County High School senior Lauren Hermann said she looks forward to the regional finals, which the club also reached last year.
“It’s fun for me,” Hermann said. “It’s fun as you become more and more comfortable with what you do.”
Hope Lewis, 11, of Riverview Middle School, also enjoys the team.
“I like to be around the horses,” Lewis said. “They’re kind of like partners in a way.”
Most important for her team members, Gauss said, is safety.
“We don’t want any kids getting hurt,” Gauss said. “Safety is very important in this organization.”
The team is not affiliated with the school district. It is, however, made up of students from the high school and middle schools, as well as home-schoolers.
“I think there’s a lot more team spirit this way,” Gauss said. “Everybody has to get involved.”
Teammates practice on Gauss’ property, Unicorn Valley Farm.
Gauss said she’d like to see more boys get involved.
“Some guys look at it as a girls’ sport,” said Gauss with a laugh. “Well, they ought to try jumping a 4-foot fence. It’s not easy.”
The team is competing March 5 in Hall County at the Region 2, Zone 4 finals.