OU equestrians to raise team awareness through cornhole fundraiser

The+OU+Equestrian+Team+is+hosting+a+cornhole+tournament+to+raise+funds+and+awareness.

Photo courtesy of Shelby Agnew

The OU Equestrian Team is hosting a cornhole tournament to raise funds and awareness.

Sierra Okoniewski, Contributor

The Oakland University Equestrian Team is galloping into harvest season with a cornhole tournament on Saturday, Oct. 16 to raise funds and awareness for their organization.

The event is open to the public and will also consist of dinner, dancing, a gift basket raffle and children’s pony rides. Bake Station Bakeries will cater dessert, including sweets geared toward nut-free, Kosher and gluten-free guests. The winner of the tournament will receive a brand-new cornhole set.

The fundraiser aims to raise money to cover coaching fees while promoting campus-wide recognition of the team.

“We’ve had riders join in their junior or senior years who would have joined sooner if they had known about us,” said equestrian team President Shelby Agnew. 

Agnew, who grew up around horses, has ridden with the OU team since her freshman year in 2018. Her experience with the club has uniquely connected her to campus founder and fellow equestrian, Matilda Dodge Wilson. 

“Matilda had horses – she rode during her lifetime,” said Agnew. “She actually passed away in Europe while she was horse shopping. The [university] police station used to be a stable. It’s safe to say that horses are a main part of OU’s history.” 

Agnew’s team members agree that if Mrs. Dodge Wilson had lived longer, she would have been invested in keeping equestrianism at the forefront of the university.

“If Matilda were still alive,” said Agnew, “…. she would have put effort into ensuring that more of the elements in riding and horses could be kept here [at OU].”

The OU equestrian team was first organized in 2008 but was discontinued soon after. It was revitalized in 2014 by student Samantha Buckert, who graduated in the spring of 2019. Buckert played an essential role in recruiting veteran equestrian Aimee Latsch as coach for the team. Latsch manages the Fox Pointe Equestrian Center in Ira Township, where the team now holds their practice sessions. 

The equestrian team, which accepts riders ranging in experience from beginner to advanced, has reached regional levels during their last two years of intercollegiate competition. They aim to continue the Dodge Wilson riding legacy by sharing their passion for horses with their fellow students.

“The cliché that ‘riding a horse, you borrow freedom’ – it’s true,” said Agnew. “It goes back to the connection you share with another animal. I think pretty much any rider will say that’s a main reason that they love riding.”

The team’s fundraiser, which runs from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, will take place at Fox Pointe Equestrian Center, located at 7800 Dixie Highway. Admission is $30 per adult and $10 for children 12 years old and under. 

Additional information about the Oakland University equestrian team and its upcoming events can be found on Facebook and Instagram under @OUeqteam. Students can also email Shelby Agnew directly at [email protected]