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Brockport students ride their way through regionals

by Rachel Muller-Editorial intern
Thu, Mar 9th 2017 01:00 pm
Photo courtesy of Brockport Equestrian Team
Photo courtesy of Brockport Equestrian Team

 The equestrian team at The College at Brockport is almost at the end of its show season. The hunt seat and the western team have both had a successful year, proven by the numerous ribbons won and the multiple members who qualified for regionals.

In the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), riders qualify for regionals with 36 points. Points are awarded to riders based on where the respective rider places in each class. First place may be worth seven points, second place worth five, third worth three and so on and so forth. These points add up over the season and must combine for a total of 36 or more to move on to the next level: regionals.

If riders do well at regionals, they may qualify to move on to zone qualifiers. Based on their performance there, they would go on to compete on the national level. These points allow a rider to move up to the next division if they have 36 points or more. IHSA puts a limit of five regular-season shows on riders, so regionals and other higher level shows offer an opportunity for more riding before the end of the season.

On Sunday, Feb. 26, sophomore Bonnie Milczarski and senior Brianna Streeter from the western IHSA team competed in the western regional show hosted by Alfred University. In IHSA, riders are assigned a random horse from the host college that they may have never ridden before.

Riders are to only mount the horse right before the class and without any warm-up or time to get used to the new horse, go in the ring and show it as if they had been riding it regularly. This makes IHSA very difficult, but also extremely rewarding as the majority of judging is done on the rider itself, not the horse. Milczarski and Streeter were both assigned the same horse during that day, a big Paint horse named Henry.

Milczarski and Streeter performed well at the show in the beginner and intermediate divisions, respectively. Milczarski placed sixth in her division, making her sixth in the region for the IHSA beginner division. Streeter had an excellent ride as well and competed against a total of 17 riders. As a whole, the team won fifth place overall for the show.

Although the regional show featured all western riding, IHSA hosted the two different types of riding, hunt seat and western. Hunt seat riding involves jumping and/or riding "on the flat" (no jumps) in a smaller, lighter saddle at a faster pace. Western refers to reining and/or western horsemanship which is ridden in a larger and heavier saddle with longer reins and at a slower pace.

Reining involves riding a pattern on the flat in which certain movements must be made at specific points including circles, sliding stops and spins. Western horsemanship is a class on the flat in which riders must perform the aforementioned actions on command.

Riders can decide to ride either hunt seat, western or both. The team is always open to new members, although the show season does not start up again until Fall 2017. Riders do not need any previous exposure to horses or showing to be able to join; they may simply email Coach Jolene Hasseler at jolene_hasseler@yahoo.com.

Each member of the team has the chance to perform at regionals and even make it to nationals every year, and the Brockport team continues to put up a fight in competition.  

Junior Anne Vasilyeva recently joined the equestrian team and is never looking back. She summed up her experience so far in an email, stating, "For this past year since I started riding, this club and the members have grown on me and I feel like we are a good family.  The horses have made a very positive impact on my life.  I was happier when I rode.  Whenever I have a bad day, I think of them and it makes me feel better."


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