Skidmore College was hoping to seal their sixth championship today, Friday, May 7, at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships in Lexington, Ky., but despite their consistency, Centenary College (N.J.) and University of Findlay (Ohio) closed the gap with strong rides from their team riders.
“[Our strategy was to have them] be mentally prepared, confident, and have them walk in there saying ‘I own this ring, I am the best and I’m going to do the best I can,’ ” said Skidmore coach Cynthia Ford. “They’re so committed, and it doesn’t wane. They get more and more enthusiastic every year that they ride.”
Skidmore rider Chelsea Jones added another second-placed ribbon to Skidmore’s collection in the intermediate equitation over fences class and pushed the team total to 25.
“It’s down to one class, and the pressure’s on,” said Ford with a smile. “We were hoping to get a few extra points today, but it didn’t happen, so we have to do it tomorrow, and we will. We will. We are very confident.”
Centenary College remained in second (20 points) with two strong performances from Ali Krecker, third in the intermediate equitation over fences class, and Beth Jonas, fifth in walk-trot. University of Findlay moved up to tie for second with a win in walk-trot from Tracie Sidwell. Stonehill College (Mass.) is fourth with 12 points, and three teams, Delaware Valley College (Penn.), University of Kentucky and Stanford University (Calif.) are tied for fifth with 11 points.
The final results of the 2010 Collegiate Cup Championship will be determined in tomorrow’s open equitation over fences class.
After the first round and flat phase of the Cacchione Cup, Centenary College’s Lindsay Mohr and Virginia Intermont College’s Ashley Miller are tied for first with 176 points. University of Wyoming’s Elizabeth Webb and Penn State University’s Elizabeth Lubrano are tired for second with 175.5 points. Fourteen riders will ride off for the title tomorrow.
Cacchione Cup Finalists
1. Ashley Miller — Virginia Intermont College — 176
1. Lindsey Mohr — Centenary College — 176
3. Elizabeth Webb — University of Wyoming — 175.5
3. Elizabeth Lubrano — Penn State University — 175.5
5. Lindsay Sceats — Mount Holyoke College — 175
6. Ali Cibon — University of Kentucky — 174
7. Kels Bonham — Savannah College of Art & Design — 172
8. Elizabeth Kigin — Skidmore College — 170.5
8. Terence Prunty — Delaware Valley College — 170.5
10. Erica Green — Washington & Jefferson College — 168.5
10. Elysse Ruschmeyer — Fairfield University — 168.5
12. Elizabeth Gilberti — Brown University — 168
13. Brittany Henson — University of Nevada — 167.5
14. Suzanne Snyder — St Lawrence University — 165.5
Douglas Returns To Show Ring With A Bang
Kelley Douglas is used to being on the outside of the ring these days since she works as an “R” jumper judge as well as on staff at many shows during the year. So for Douglas, who took a 10-year hiatus from showing before returning to IHSA last fall, winning the alumni open equitation over fences national championships was a welcoming return to the ring.
“I know so many people here, professionally and personally, that I thought it’d be really cool if I won,” said Douglas, 37. “Joleen Dewitt [Northern Illinois University’s head coach] said to me, We start in three weeks at intercollegiate. Why don’t you come show with us?’ And it happened to be the two months that I don’t work much, so I started riding, and the first time I went in the ring I felt awful! But I just kept at it and got kind of back to where I feel good, and it was just fun.”
Douglas graduated from Hollins University in 1994 with a degree in economics with a business concentration. Since graduating, she has hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, lived out of the country and volunteered in various places, but she always came back to horses.
Douglas was impressed by the changes in IHSA since she competed in college, where she also won a national championship in the individual open equitation over fences class in 1992.
“This is amazing how it’s grown and how professional it is now,” said Douglas. “I work horse shows, and I work good horse shows, and this is as good as any of those in the way it’s put together. “[When I competed in college] I met a lot of people that I work with professionally now. In hindsight it helped me a lot to get where I am. Being here has actually reignited my passion for the horses and the sport.”
Douglas also enjoyed playing the role of mentor to the Northern Illinois University hunt seat team, which she traveled with all year in order to qualify for nationals.
“Don’t take it too seriously because it’s really just a phase of your life. It can get you places and give you exposure and give you great experience, but be aware that there’s a bigger world out there as well, so just make sure that this is just a part of it,” Douglas offered as advice. “Keep it your passion. Keep it your priority, but just enjoy it, don’t get too worked up and wrapped up in it because it’s so much fun, and it’s a great experience, and it’ll teach you a lot about life if you let it.”
Martin Makes The Most Of First Nationals
Even though Katherine Martin, Cleveland, Ohio, only had a year of riding under her belt, she looked like a seasoned professional when she took home the individual walk-trot equitation championship.
“It was one of those things that just kind of clicked,” said Martin, 19. “I got so excited when it came down to the last two people. It was a lot of anticipation and hard work all year leading up to this, and I’m just really excited.”
Martin decided to start riding because she has always had an interest in horses, and when she arrived at Ohio University she found herself with too much spare time on her hands.
“I’ve always loved it; it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do, and I’m really glad I actually took the initiative to do it,” said Martin. “I was a little overwhelmed when I first got here, but once I got on the nerves just kind of went away. I knew I could do it. It just comes to me, and it’s very natural. I just did my thing. I did what I know how to do.”
“I’ve done a lot of coaching in my years and a lot of showing, but I don’t remember many things that are quite this exciting,” said Coach Karen Healey with a smile.
For Hodges Badge Company representative Rick Hodges, sponsoring the walk-trot class is always a good experience.
“It’s great, especially to come down here and see the look on Katie’s face,” he said. “She’s only been riding for a year, and to see that our participation and our sponsorship is what puts a smile on a kid’s face, makes us feel really good.”