For the second time, Jordan Siegel led the Savannah College of Art and Design team to victory at the ANRC National Intercollegiate Equitation Championship, held at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va., April 16-17.
Siegel not only secured her team the overall championship, but she also won the individual championship. In 2003, as a freshman, Siegel had claimed the individual championship, helping SCAD, of Savannah, Ga., to triumph then as well. That year, she became the first and only freshman to win the individual title.
“It was just a really good weekend overall,” Siegel said of this year’s championship.
Siegel, of Flower Mound, Texas, rode Sculpture, a SCAD school horse. Each of SCAD’s horses is named for a different major at the school. Siegel and her teammates only started practicing on the horses they would ride in the competition two weeks earlier. Coach Andrew Lustig said Siegel and her fellow teammates were well suited to the horses they rode.
“I love riding him,” Siegel said of Sculpture.
Siegel and Sculpture placed fifth in the dressage sportif competition and third in the hunter trials equitation with a score of 88. However, her win in the hunter seat equitation phase, with a score of 96, secured the victory. The scores, including a written phase, were combined to determine the winner.
“There is always room for improvement, but I was pretty happy,” Siegel said.
Siegel, whose mother is a trainer, grew up riding. In 2003, she was the IHSA national open flat champion and reserve open over fences rider. She was third overall for the Cacchione Cup that year, and last year she was a member of SCAD’s sixth-placed ANRC team.
This year, Siegel, a junior media and performing arts major, won the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Zone 5 championships in the open fences division and will compete at IHSA nationals in May. She hopes to ride at ANRC again next year and credited her teammates for their help.
“I don’t think any of us could have done it without each other,” Siegel said.
A Final Win
For Siegel’s fellow team member Ashley Kelly, the ANRC championship was bittersweet. Kelly, who was proud to be a member of the winning team, is also a senior, and this show was her last one with the SCAD team. The team’s score of 173.92 was enough to beat out Sweet Briar College and the University of Virginia. The latter two teams were separated by less than a point with scores of 171.89 and 171.83 respectively.
“She’s a great horse,” Kelly said of her mount, Sequential Art. “She’s got a lot of heart.”
Kelly, who is from Nassau, Bahamas, also competed on the winning team in 2003. A metals and jewelry major, Kelly does not know yet what she will be doing after graduation.
Lustig said Kelly and their third team member, Hattie Saltonstall, had to try out against other team members to represent SCAD at the ANRC championship. Siegel, who is team captain, was automatically selected. Throughout the year, the SCAD team holds mock horse shows, and the coaches select the riders who score the highest to ride at ANRC and other competitions.
“I think it’s been a great practice,” Lustig said.
Team members also compete at IHSA shows, as well as regular A-rated horse shows. Siegel, Saltonstall and Kelly all showed at the Atlantic Spring Classic (Ga.) in March, and Kelly was reserve champion in the adult amateur, 18-35, division, aboard Sculpture.
Saltonstall, a sophomore from King Ferry, N.Y., also came to this year’s competition with previous ANRC experience. She rode on last year’s team and enjoys the format of the competition. “It really tests all different levels of your riding and your knowledge,” Saltonstall said.
Saltonstall rode Art And Design, another SCAD school horse. She was pleased with her riding, especially her fourth-placed finish in the dressage sportif phase, which she said is her weakest area.
“We’re really compatible together,” Saltonstall said of Art And Design.
Support and Teamwork
The SCAD riders and coaches consider the school’s support of the equestrian program the key to their success. All three riders chose the school because of its riding program, and they all practice almost every day. “Our school is behind us in every way,” Lustig said.
Hunt seat coach Courtney Peters said the closeness of the three riders also helped them. “They all are really there for each other,” Peters said. Siegel, Kelly and Saltonstall are good friends both in the saddle, as well as away from the show ring.
“I’m honored to ride with these girls,” Saltonstall said. “They’re like a family to me. I don’t think I’d want to be here with anyone else.”
Forty riders from 12 colleges and universities competed at this year’s show. “The competition is very good and it gets harder every year,” Lustig said.
Judges Kip Rosenthal, of Brewster, N.Y., and Rita Timpanaro, of Smithtown, N.Y., were also impressed with this year’s competition. They remarked that about 10 of the riders could be competitive at any show in the country. Rosenthal, who judged the 2001 competition in Conyers, Ga., noted that the competitiveness of the riders has increased.
“In four years, it was amazing to me to see the improvement in the quality of the riding,” she said.
Timpanaro liked the uniqueness of the competition and its emphasis on flatwork, as well as jumping. “The whole format was really different from anything I’ve judged before,” she said. “I loved it. I truly enjoyed judging this.”
For Lustig, it wasn’t just the competition that impressed him, but also the skills his own riders showed. “They rode the best I’ve ever seen them ride,” he said.