Mosaic / October 16, 2019

Past and Present: The Knox Equestrian Club

Tali Bossingham, senior, tending to her horse, Reindeer. (Pravaek Pradhan/TKS)

A couple of members horsing around outside the stable. (Special Collections and Archives, Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois)

Riders for Thunder on the Left preparing for a show sometime in the 1950’s. (Special Collections and Archives, Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois)

Tali Bossingham, senior, riding Reindeer the horse around the stable. (Pravaek Pradhan/TKS)

Marty Johnson, winner of the Senior Award in 1939, posing with her horse. (Special Collections and Archives, Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois)

Andie Carlson-Dakes, senior, feeding treats to a horse. (Pravaek Pradhan/TKS)

A group of women trying to take off another’s riding boot outside the stable. (Special Collections and Archives, Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois)

Fiona Munro, senior, stepping onto her horse. (Pravaek Pradhan/TKS)

Pamphlet cover for the 1950 Gymkhana, a day full of races and other events for the riders and their horses. (Special Collections and Archives, Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois)


Among the variety of student clubs and organizations that Knox offers lies one that has come and gone since the early 1930’s, and possibly making it one of the oldest organizations on campus.

What used to be a very exclusive club sport known as Thunder on the Left with a selective application process has faltered into what is now known as the Knox Equestrian Club.

Senior Tali Bossingham, President of the Knox Equestrian Club, spoke about her role on the executive board and the campus’s lack of knowledge about the club’s existence.

“I have been asked ‘What do you ride?’ before. And the answer to that is horses,” said Bossingham.

Bossingham told of how during the days of Thunder on the Left, horses were kept very close to campus with yearly campus events to show the skills of members and their horses. It was one of the biggest club sports on campus with a prestigious reputation.

As time went on, riding horses fell out of style with the culture. Bossingham acknowledges this as one of the reasons for campus-wide popularity dropping. Another reason being the fees associated with being a part of the club.

Sophomore Mia Dudgeon, treasurer for the club, explained that each lesson per rider is $25 in addition to the yearly fee members pay for being a part of a club sport. Riders only have to pay $5 for a lesson because the rest is covered by the club’s budget. But even that can pose constraints considering harsh budget cuts enacted this fall across various student groups.

“(The new budget) is detrimental to allowing new members in because we have to cap at a significantly lower number than the demand we have,” Dudgeon said.

Despite fluctuating trends in popularity, Bossingham has said that since she joined her freshman year, she has seen an increase in members. About three years ago, the club brought horses to campus as part of an event, greatly increasing awareness of the club. She hopes an event like that will happen again, but coordinating with the college can be difficult.

“The campus is a little bit nervous, within their rights. It would probably take the executive board a significant amount of energy to make that happen and so we are in conversation about putting together an event for sometime this year,” Bossingham said.

Joining the club is meant to be a fun way to learn something new and there are members of varying skills with horsemanship who join. Bossingham is in charge of assigning riders to horses when they arrive to their facility, which is north of Galesburg in Viola, Illinois. Variables such as the size and temperament of the rider and horse go into those decisions.

While no major incidents have occurred because proper safety precautions are always taken, both Bossingham and Dudgeon admit to falling off of their horses before.

“I’m just accident-prone,” Dudgeon joked.

While the Knox Equestrian Club is one of many other clubs who have received harsh budget cuts, like the rest, they have found ways to stay afloat to continue doing what they do.


Alicia Olejniczak, Associate Mosaic Editor

Tags:  Equestrian Club horseback riding Horses horsing around Knox Archives thunder on the left

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