Horse riding is another sport whose fans decided to integrate in Sii Poland and motivate each other to new challenges and personal development. Last year, horse riding, along with the communities of Sii Aviation Team and Sii Sailing Team, made its debut in the Passion Sponsorship Program, and its amateurs jointly organized 2 horse camps, during which they improved their skills on Podlasie trails. The group leader is Karolina Modrzejewska, Associate Delivery Manager from Sii Warszawa, who participated in winning a grant in the spring round of the Program, proving that Sii Poland supports people seeking development not only in the professional field, but also in their private passions.
Where did the idea to set up a horse riding group at Sii Poland come from? Despite its undoubted charm, horseback riding is not as popular as running or even climbing. How do you suppose that you will find enthusiasts of this particular discipline in the company, who would want to organize activities together?
Karolina Modrzejewska: It is true that there are much fewer horse riders and amazons than runners – I myself run with the Warsaw group, I know how many Sii people meet together, but horseback riding is not as inaccessible and niche sport as it used to be. After all, there are 6 500 people in Sii Poland – I was sure that I would find someone who shared my hobby! And it was enough to meet at an integration event, and it turned out that 3 horse riders were sitting right next to each other! How can you find out if someone is riding a horse? You don’t have to ask – they will tell you… And this is how this new group emerged: the idea was born at Sii Poland’s Delivery Managers’ integration event, and the first horse riders I found were Łukasz Romowicz, Delivery Manager in PMO Department, and Joasia Brzozowska-Stelmachowska, Controller in PMO Department.
In the spring of 2021, Sii Horse Rinding Team was formed. What have you already done together?
K.M.: We organized two weekend riding camps under the slogan “Autumn in the saddle”. As the person submitting the application to Passion Sponsorship Program, I was the main organizer, but together we were looking for a stud that would accept us, and we found one in Podlasie. To my surprise, people from Sii from all over Poland signed up for the camps: from Warsaw, Łódź, Białystok, Gdańsk and Lublin. It was a really great opportunity to get to know each other: in a group that, apart from Sii and the horses, does not have much in common. This group includes programmers, testers, a constructor engineer, DevOps engineer, control systems engineer, PMO and sales people – from various departments, divisions and Competence Centers, for whom the riding camp was the only opportunity to meet. This is the incredible value of Passion Sponsorship Program: it gives me the opportunity to meet people from all over the company who share your interests – it often becomes an inspiration for new relationships that develop us in business, in new projects, ideas or development paths.
At the camp, we focused primarily on horse riding: every day there was a trip through the beautiful field and forest areas of Podlasie, and in the evening, of course, we integrated around the fire, regional cuisine and horse stories. There are also initial plans for future trips. To name a few, we talked about a camp in Kashubia, a stud by the sea, to make the dream of every horseman come true: gallop on the beach, but also we discovered a cool place that offers western-style horse riding.
Why did you decide to apply for a grant even though receiving support implies additional obligations of the organizer?
K.M.: First, I wanted to see if I would be able to get a grant. Our group’s request, its integration and sports values, were appreciated. It is true that it is connected with tasks that have to be done, but most of all it is great satisfaction when we ride a horse together through the forest, all with Sii logo on their backs, like a real team! I am also pleased when I get feedback on how fun it was and that the trip was successful – although during our first event the weather was bad and it was raining for 2 days!
Who is Sii Horse Riding Team and joint riding camps for? What experience do I need?
K.M.: Our community currently has about 80 people who are more or less involved in horse riding and are interested in this type of leisure activity. As for the experience level of the camp members, everyone could find something for themselves, there were also basically beginners with us, for whom the Sii camp was an impulse to return to horse riding, for which I keep my fingers crossed!
What does your riding adventure look like? What do you find in this sport?
K.M.: I’ve been riding horses for 12 years, so I started as an adult and I’m still learning. I recommend this sport to everyone. There are no limits here, if we are healthy and are willing to accept that a horse is a large animal, you must try it! Interestingly, horseback riding is a completely co-educational sport: there is no gender-based advantage, only skill counts. We reach higher and higher levels, but we never stop learning. As every human being is different, every horse is different and often you have to get along with him in a completely different way.
Horse riding has a great influence on both our physical and mental condition. My weekly horse riding classes are a complete escape from everything for me. When I’m with a horse or riding a horse, I only have to focus on it, there’s no chance of thinking about anything else. The horse feels our stress and nervousness, it feels when we think about, for example, work while riding, and then it takes our emotions in, it also starts to stress out. Horseback riding clears the mind, teaches us to be firm, responsible for the other being, but also to plan what we want to do – because it’s not good to surprise an animal when we are sitting on its back.
Kacper Staniszewski, Software Engineer, Sii Białystok: I found the information about a horse riding trip on SiiPortal. I have ridden a few times in the past and thought it would be nice to be in the saddle again. Nevertheless, I still feel like a beginner: the camp was mainly aimed at experienced riders who regularly practice the sport, but Karolina turned out to be flexible and found a solution for me. Thanks to her commitment and support from Sii, I was able to enjoy this joint horse riding adventure. The participants came from all over Poland and even though I didn’t know anyone, the atmosphere turned out to be really fantastic and I will be happy to participate in the next trips if there is such an opportunity. The more that the camp was effective and I decided to continue my training in Białystok.
Katarzyna Suwińska, Design Engineer, Sii Gdańsk: My motivation for going to a horse camp was the desire to meet people who have the same interests as me. I am a person who likes to spend time actively, so a weekend in the saddle was a great form of meeting new people for me! An additional advantage was the location – a region of Poland which is characterized by the lowest population density, and thus – beautiful landscapes for horse riding. I really like it! The place was great, the team was great, the instructors were great. Three pros, no cons. I think that it would be nice to combine the forms of off-road riding, which integrate the participants, with the training of riding techniques. So I look forward to the next spring excursions!
If you want Sii Poland to support your passion as well, check our job offers and join the team!