Professors, students laden with books and the odd hungover undergrad stumbling in from a black tie dinner are what you might expect to see in Oxford city centre. Pint-sized ponies? Not so much.
But last week (8 March 2018), the Oxford University Equestrian Club (OUEC) brought two small ponies to central Oxford to meet the public, in an effort to raise the club’s profile ahead of their tour to America this autumn.
“With the idea conceived after too long spent cuddling ponies to prolong our inevitable weekly essay crises, it’s fair to say that few people genuinely believed we could pull off bringing ponies to central Oxford. However, last week OUEC managed to battle adverse weather forecasts and traffic on the A34 to bring Vera and Slim from Hall Place Equestrian Centre to Oxford,” says OUEC member Annie Higgo.
“Enjoying the sunshine for the first time in what seemed like years after the shutdown from the snow of the previous weeks, OUEC paraded Vera and Slim round the Radcliffe Camera, through the Bodleian libraries and up and down Cornmarket street, meeting students and residents alike to launch our inaugural US tour. Sporting Oxford blue, the ponies behaved impeccably and were more than happy to pose for countless photos, a personal highlight being their cameo appearance in a trashing photo, celebrating the end of classics mods (exams).
“Our aim in bringing the ponies to Oxford was both to raise the profile of the club with regards to the upcoming tour but also to raise awareness of the club within Oxford, and hopefully encourage potential sponsors to consider assisting us in our aim to get the team to the USA and to grow the wider club as much as we can,” adds Annie.
In September, OUEC will embark on a tour of the East Coast American universities, competing against American students in showjumping and dressage in the Glenavadra Cup, as well as trying their hand at barrel racing.
The club organises riding lessons for beginners through to advanced riders, alongside running the equestrian squad which competes in BUCS leagues and against Cambridge in the annual Varsity match.
Watch the ponies exploring Oxford:
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