Western riding team heads to the Nationals

Mount Holyoke College’s Western riding team will be going to the Nationals for the first time in its 16-year history.

For the first time in its history, Mount Holyoke College’s Western riding team has won the semifinals, and the team will be advancing to the national competition.

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Nationals will be held May 3–5, 2024, in North Carolina. The Western team was established at Mount Holyoke 16 years ago in 2008.

Mount Holyoke Equestrian Center Director Paula Pierce ’94 always knew the Western team was destined for Nationals.

“I could not be prouder of the Mount Holyoke College Western riding team,” Pierce said. “The whole equestrian program has been waiting for this moment. We knew we could rise to be competitive at the national level in all three [equestrian] disciplines — dressage, hunter seat equitation and Western — and have been waiting for this.”

She said, “Western is our newest team, and we have known we were [at Nationals level] for several years. Now to be rewarded for it and prove it is just so affirming. This kind of success really does take a village, from those of our staff who work in the barn to our coaching to overall College support. Go, Lyons!”

Mount Holyoke Western Team Coach Kelli Wainscott was also fulsome in her congratulations.

“I have so much respect for our students and all of their accomplishments. Being a student and an athlete is no easy task, and here at Mount Holyoke, we have the most determined and hardworking equestrians in this sport,” she said. “I am forever thankful for Mount Holyoke, the Equestrian Center and the College staff we work with. These riders have made history — they worked together all season and at this horse show to accomplish a win that we will never forget and always be proud of. They have always been champions, but this win helps them understand just how talented and competitive they really are.”

Wainscott said, “We want to also thank the horses because without them, none of this would be possible. We can’t wait to represent Mount Holyoke College at the IHSA National Championship Horse Show!”

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