Harrisburg, Pa. – May 3
St. Lawrence University (N.Y.) increased their lead in the second day of team competition at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships. With a current lead of seven points over Skidmore College (N.Y.), St. Lawrence will end the competition as either champion or reserve for the Collegiate Cup.
Jessie Lewis earned St. Lawrence five points in the intermediate over fences class, and Khoee Tyner added an additional three points in walk/trot.
Lewis lived up to Katherine Figueroa’s expectations. Figueroa predicted on Thursday that Lewis would take a top spot.
Skidmore has yet to win a team class but are clinging to second with steady placings throughout the day. They now have 15 points.
Last year St. Lawrence and Skidmore were champion and reserve, respectively, in the Collegiate Cup. Skidmore won the honor in 2010 with a similar pattern of mid-level placings that added up over the weekend.
Judges called for lengthy flat classes to distinguish between top riders. Only one class required additional testing, but U.S. Equestrian Federation/Cacchione Cup contenders performed work without stirrups during the flat including sitting and regular trot work.
All 37 Cacchione Cup riders jumped a course this morning, but only the top 24 returned for the afternoon flat work. Tomorrow, the judges may call for a work off to determine a winner.
-Eliza Richartz, a senior, earned seven points for Stanford University (Calif.) in the team walk/trot class. She was recruited by Stanford’s sailing team, but after three years she decided to switch tracks and join the equestrian team.
-Audrey Bolte, winner of the Miss Ohio pageant and first runner up in the Miss USA pageant, spent Nationals cheering on her old teammates from St. Andrews University (N.C.). “My senior year [at Nationals] I rode with a broken foot, and I just didn’t tell anybody. I just took a wrong step going down some stairs, rolled my ankle and came down with all my weight,” said Bolte, who now lives in New York City with her dog, Boomer, a rescue. Although she hasn’t ridden since she moved to the city at the end of 2012, she hopes to find a barn now that she’s settled into East Coast life.
-Penn State University won the 2012-2013 IHSA Community Service Award for raising money to fight pediatric cancer through participation in a university-wide dance marathon. This year the team raised $35,000.
-With riders like Kimberley Graves, St. Andrews University (N.C.) is putting up a fight for the lead. Graves, a senior and first-time competitor at Nationals has qualified for three of IHSA’s top classes: individual open flat, individual open fences and the USEF/Cacchione Cup.
“I was told once that I would never win an equitation class, and now I’m at nationals, which is judged solely on equitation. It definitely makes you feel good – it’s a big accomplishment for me,” said Graves, who is one of 37 regional champions now at Harrisburg in contention for the cup.
Graves, an equine business management major, is also a part of St. Andrews’ American National Riding Commission team and keeps her horse Iliaque at school. After college Graves hopes to work in the horse industry with one of the professionals she has grown up admiring. “I want to start from the ground up. I would love to get a grooming job with a top hunter or grand prix rider.”
Graves and her fellow seniors from St. Andrews missed their graduation to compete at IHSA. To make up for it, the St. Andrews director of the equestrian program, Peggy McElveen, planned a special ceremony on Saturday.
“I called my parents when I qualified for the Cacchione Cup and said, ‘Hey, so I can’t walk across the stage at graduation.’ It was definitely a tough decision but I’m so glad I’m here to compete and support my team,” said Graves.