Updated: May 14, 2007 - MHC Riders Shine at Nationals
The Mount Holyoke hunter seat and dressage club teams won their respective regional competitions this spring, earning the right to compete for national titles.
The dressage club team is heading to the Centenary College Equestrian Center in Long Valley, New Jersey, to compete in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) championships April 28-29. Riding for the team will be: Asheley Ireland '08 at first level; Ana Schreck '09 at upper training level; Shoshana Lucich '10 at lower training level; and Mignon Johnston '10 at introductory level. Two additional riders, Emily Maus '09 and Shannon Peavey '09, will compete as individuals at introductory level.
Dressage team captain Asheley Ireland is looking forward to the competition. "This is my third season preparing with the team to compete at nationals and my second year as captain and I have to say that there is truly something different in the air about this year's team.
"All of our 18 riders have proved themselves this season not only as extraordinary riders but also as dedicated team members who always go that extra mile. These women know they can win this weekend and want to win. There is no one working harder in the gym, riding more horses, or more dedicated to achieving excellence in the arena than this year's team."
Rebecca Schurink, who has coached the dressage team to three national championships and one reserve championship since nationals were first held in 2001, said, "This has been an exciting year with many up-and-coming first-year students who are proven competitors in the IDA. The riders have upped their level of training with increased workouts every day of the week in addition to their riding. Their mental toughness has improved and their confidence in riding tests is getting better. I think they are peaking right now."
The hunter seat team will be defending its 2006 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championship title against 16 teams from all over the country. The competition will be held May 3-6 at the Big Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Carol J. Law, riding program director and coach, has played a major role in organizing the event, which will bring approximately 395 riders (which actually equates to almost 500 rides) to compete in western and hunter seat equitation.
This year's team includes Kate Miller '08 in walk-trot, Emily Coler '10 in walk-trot-canter, Caralie Cahill '08 in novice equitation on the flat, Lora Ciborowski '10 in novice equitation over fences, Christine Gunn '07 in intermediate equitation on the flat, Dani Corkill '09 in intermediate equitation over fences, and Nathalie Cooper '07 in open equitation on the flat and open equitation over fences. Gunn, Cooper, and Marie Hilliard '07 will also be competing as individuals.
The Equestrian Center's director Paula Pierce '94 stated, "The work ethic of our students and staff is incredible. There are many, many Mount Holyoke riders who didn't qualify for Nationals and who weren't chosen to compete for the team, who are getting horses ready to go to the Big E, helping to organize transportation for their team, helping their teammates practice, and supporting us in so many ways. Those riders and our staff are our own heroes and the ones who have contributed to our long-standing--and hopefully continued--success!"
Coach Law is excited about this year's show. "I'm always so impressed by the team effort that is shown when putting together an event like this. My riders have been fantastic and have worked so hard to not only prepare competitively, but also to host the quality competition at which they'd like to compete. We have had fantastic parental support and it is that much nicer to have the event so close to home so that many can attend. We all hope to see fans from the College in the stands."