Sweet Briar’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association riders were victorious at home on Saturday, Nov. 16, earning the team championship title when they hosted the final IHSA show of the fall semester.
Olivia Smith ’14, who entered the competition leading the Cacchione Cup standings for Zone 4, Region 2, won both of her open fences and open flat classes. Katie Drake ’14 also won her novice flat and intermediate fences class, tying Smith for the show’s high-point rider award. The women agreed to a coin toss, which Smith won, to determine the winner instead of a ride-off to spare the horses another class.
In other team results, Laura Leitch ’14 placed first in intermediate flat; Mary Kate Bailey ’16 was first in walk, trot; Hannah Bowers ’15 finished second in advanced walk, trot, canter; Natasha Cross ’16 was second in her walk, trot class; Madi Cromwell ’16 was fourth in novice flat; Lexi Markmann ’17 was fifth in intermediate fences; and Eryn Wiley ’14 and Amanda Wager ’14 both finished fifth in their novice fences classes.
Sweet Briar IHSA coach Lizzie Fisch was pleased with her team for how well they rode, but also for how well they prepared the horses. In IHSA competition, riders don’t bring their own horses. Instead, they are paired with a horse belonging to the host school, meaning they don’t have an opportunity to practice together. The system is a test of how well a rider can read her horse and follow with a good performance.
“A lot of hard work goes into preparing the horses for an IHSA show and the team did an excellent job,” Fisch says. “The horses were well-schooled and we received many compliments from the other teams regarding how wonderful our horses are.”
As for their performance in the ring, “we hope to continue our success and improve into next year,” she says.
The team is in first place for the regional championship with five more shows to compete in next semester.