Mount Holyoke College Riding Instructor Joy Collins Wins PRO/AM Medal

For immediate release
October 5, 2000


SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts--Joy Collins, riding instructor at Mount Holyoke College, competed in the Massachusetts Horsemen's Council Days of Champions this past weekend and placed first in the Pro-Am Medal Class. The show was held at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, MA, where Collins rode against approximately twenty other professionals from the region. Riders were only allowed to compete in these prestigious medal finals based on their performance at previous shows throughout the year.

The competition consisted of nine jumps in the first round, ranging from 2'9"-3'0" in height. Four riders were then called back to perform a special test involving jumping at specified paces, then showing a halt and a sitting trot back into line. The judges looked for a smooth, even, and consistent round. According to Collins, "The goal is to place your horse correctly at the right take-off space to each jump so that it looks effortless and to show good form and control in between the jumps as well as when going over." Not only did Collins achieve this goal, but she accomplished it with a horse she had ridden only twice prior to the show!

The horse Collins rode, Master Purvis, is owned by Jesse Smith, a first-year student and equestrian team member at Mount Holyoke College. Most competitors rode horses that they have competed on many times before, which makes Collins's win even more remarkable. Collins also had the moral support of two other first-year Mount Holyoke riding team members, Katherine Cope and Nina Akerley, who helped prepare her and Master Purvis mentally and physically for their appearance before the judges. Said Collins, "Jesse's incredible generosity in offering her well-trained horse for me, as well as Katherine and Nina's support really showed what great character Mount Holyoke students have." A few of the prizes Collins received as a tribute to her performance include an engraved silver bowl, an embossed plate, and a lifetime membership to the Massachusetts Horsemen's Council.

Joy Collins is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College ('91), was the assistant riding coach from 1998-2000. She currently teaches riding courses at Mount Holyoke. Collins's hometown is East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.