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Equestrian Symposium at Albion College Draws Olympian Instructor

Held Equestrian Center Marketing Coordinator Randi Heathman performs a walk pirouette with Ricochet while Steffen Peters provides instruction.
Held Equestrian Center Marketing Coordinator Randi Heathman performs a walk pirouette with Ricochet while Steffen Peters provides instruction.

Before classes could even begin for the fall semester at Albion College, instruction was already under way Aug. 20-21 at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center. At the head of the class was three-time Olympic dressage rider Steffen Peters, who conducted the weekend-long symposium to share his training methods with the assembled crowd.

Representing a range of ages and experience levels, nearly 150 auditors from four states converged in Albion with pens and notebooks in hand, ready to learn from the talented 46 year-old horseman, whose three bronze medals at the 2010 World Equestrian Games were the first individual medals for an American dressage rider since 1932.

Sneed Finishes in National Top Ten

Capping an event-filled competition season that saw her sit out part of the spring with a broken wrist, Albion's senior dressage team captain Kjirsten Sneed (Washburn, WI/Washburn) traveled to the Intercollegiate Dressage Association national championship show on April 30 and May 1, 2011 and finished her collegiate career with a Top Ten placing.Bob_Nationals_11Dressage coach Danielle Menteer and team captain Kjirsten Sneed at the 2011 IDA National Championship.

Sneed, who returned to the dressage team as a seniorafter taking a sabbatical to concentrate on her studies and spend one semester studying in France, was named regional champion at First Level en route to her IDA Nationals berth - which was no mean feat after she sat out the last regular season meet of the year with her injury.  Still, her earlier high scores held and her wrist healed in time for her to return to the saddle for the championship show.

"Kjirsten was a great leader for her team this season," coach Danielle Menteer said.  "She's also a great competitor and I really enjoyed working with her again this season."

Of her championship ride, Sneed remarked, "There were some great horses and riders here and it was a great experience.  The scores in my class were very close - within six percentage points - and the IDA is all about doing the best with what you draw.  I think I managed to do that."

After graduation, Sneed is off to Michigan State University's law school, where she has received a full-ride scholarship.

Petchell Earns Top Ten Finish at IHSA Semi-Finals

Albion sophomore Katie Petchell's (Pinckney/Pinckney) IHSA competition season came to a successful close on Saturday, March 26 when she netted a Top Ten finish at the IHSA Stock Seat Semi-Finals competition at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX.
Texas_FinalistsThe finalists await the results of the 2011 Semi-Finals reining class at Texas A&M University (Canyon, TX). Photo by Katie Petchell.

Out of the 14 riders from across the United States who competed in the Open/Reining portion of the Semi-Final competition, Petchell finished ninth.  Her placing was particularly noteworthy due to the challenging nature of the mount she drew for her ride.  Coach Denise Webber was proud of the way her student kept her cool despite the difficulties and the pressure of the situation.  She was also proud of the performance of all of her riders throughout the IHSA competition season; Petchell is the second rider in the relatively short history of Albion's stock seat program to advance into Semi-Final competition.

Petchell too was positive about the experience.  She remarked, "Now that I've had a taste of Semis and I know what to expect, I'm more than ready to get next season started so I can qualify again."

Sneed Qualifies for Dressage Nationals

Nicole Howey '13 salutes to begin her test at Lake Erie College.

In her final year of Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) competition, senior team captain Kjirsten Sneed (Washburn, Wis./Washburn) set the bar so high early in the season that not even injury could keep her from qualifying for the national championship at the final regular season meet of the season on February 19.

Sneed rides at First Level, the highest of the four divisions in the IDA, and managed to earn the regional championship despite not competing at the last meet due to a broken wrist. As a team, the Britons finished fourth in the region.

Also gaining notable finishes were sophomore Alyssa Olson (Clarkston/Clarkston Senior) and first-year rider Samantha Green (Algonac/Algonac) who both finished fourth in the Lower Training and Introductory levels, respectively.

"It's really been a rebuilding year for us," said coach Danielle Menteer. "Riding in the collegiate format isn't easy but everyone on the team worked hard all season to master it."

The IDA national championship show will be hosted by the University of Florida on April 30 through May 1, 2011. Sneed's wrist is expected to be fully healed by then.

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