Lexington, Ky.—May 7
If you wanted to bet the odds on favorite in the Cacchione Cup, you would have picked Chase Boggio, and you’d be cashing in a win ticket.
While the Kentucky Derby festivities began in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, Boggio was 67 miles north in Lexington’s Alltech Arena cleaning house at the IHSA National Championships. After securing the open over fences championship on Thursday, Boggio led wire to wire in the three phase USEF Cacchione Cup Friday and Saturday.
Boggio, from Tufts University (Ma.), sealed the victory with the best test of the three riders called back (Victoria Bauer took the reserve championship, Ryan Genn took third). Riders demonstrated movements like a serpentine around the ring with halts and simple changes of lead, a trot fence, a hand gallop, and a turn on the haunches.
“This is the way that I imagined the result, but I tried not to think about it too much,” Boggio said. He had all night Friday to think of what was at stake Saturday morning after posting the high score over fences, an 89.
“But this is exactly how I wanted it to turn out,” he continued. “I don’t get to ride in shows of this caliber very much anymore, so it feels really good to know that I’ve still got it!”
Boggio rode St. Lawrence’s Aram for the final test, who happened to be the same horse Boggio won the open over fences division with.
“I thought in all honesty he was maybe the greenest of the horses that Ryan and Victoria and I had the choice of, and that’s why I opted for the simple changes,” Boggio said. “I made up for it with my hand gallop fence; it came right up out of stride really nicely.”
Boggio had an Oscar-like list of people he wanted to thank for his win, which included his very first IHSA coach, Katie Schaaf.
“I want to thank her for convincing me to do the IHSA; she hounded me really hard my freshmen year, and I held her back,” Boggio said with a laugh. “And finally my sophomore year I agreed to do it, and I’m really glad that I did.”
Skidmore’s “One Eyed Wonder” Awarded Most Popular Hunt Seat Horse Award
Skidmore’s horse Amitelli is no stranger to IHSA nationals, but this was the first championship he competed in with just one eye. He didn’t let the handicap stop him from carrying Alex Carlton to the win in team open over fences class, earning the Smartpak Most Popular Hunt Seat Horse award.
That horse was amazing,” Carlton said. “I’ve watched him go all week for three years now at nationals, and he’s a dream draw. I got on and asked him to go forward, and from there he never changed his canter. He was perfect.”
Skidmore coach Cindy Ford explained how Amitelli started having problems with the eye a year ago, eventually deteriorating to the point where the organ was losing blood flow and needed to be removed.
Ford said immediately after the surgery the school was very careful with Amitelli, only allowing one person in his stall for weeks while he adjusted to seeing the world through one eye. Skidmore slowly brought Amitelli back to work, and Ford said it was a surprisingly smooth transition and credits it to Amitelli being an unusually smart horse.
Still, Ford had her students take some precautions during ring familiarization once Amitelli got to Lexington. She had students walk Amitelli down the long wall where crowds tend to linger and feed him treats and candy from the fence, hoping to instill some positive vibes.
It worked—Amitelli’s round with Carlton was the very first of the day, and it was foot perfect, scoring an 88.
“It was a very fluid round, and he was right there with me,” Carlton said. “It felt really great.”
The University of Kentucky’s Red Alert earned the Thoroughbred Incentive Program Award, and Morrisville’s horse Rex and Cazenovia’s Collins tied for the Triple Crown High Point Hunt Seat Horse Award.
SCAD Scores Second National Team Championship In A Row
The reigning national champions secured their title for another year at the Alltech Arena—the Savannah College of Art and Design took the 2016 Collegiate Cup.
“It was hard; it was a scary year for us just trying to stay humble with it because you’re almost feeling like you’re creating a legacy a bit coming back a second year,” SCAD coach Ashley Henry said. “Oh my gosh we won it last year. Can we do it again? Everyone’s looking at you like was it just a fluke the first time.
“But without a doubt you look at the end scores this year, I’m beyond proud of how everyone did,” Henry continued. “So it was good.”
Some of the SCAD team highlights include Ryan Genn’s win in the open flat class (as well as a third-placed finish in the Cacchione Cup), Quinn Lowsky’s win in the novice flat class, and Mikayla Colson’s blue ribbon in the walk-trot class.
“She was really nervous,” Henry said of Colton. “We were walking over to get on her horse, and she asked, ‘I can do this, right?’ And I’m like what?! Of course you can. I wouldn’t have brought you other wise!” Henry said with a laugh.
Check out the May 30th issue of the Chronicle for more on the IHSA nationals and other collegiate championship coverage.