Home field advantage worked somewhat to Albion's advantage during their home intercollegiate dressage meet on November 20. Led by solid finishes from Alyssa Olson (Clarkston/Clarkston), who came second in the Lower Training division, and by First Level region leader Kjirsten Sneed (Washburn, Wis./Washburn), the Briton's "A" team secured a third place team finish of the 12 teams assembled at the Held Equestrian Center.
In the Upper Training division, sophomore Greer Clemons (Powell, OH/Olentangy) finished third and junior Nora Cox (Minneapolis, Minn./Homeschool) gave a solid ride in the Introductory division to add to the "A" team's point tally. (Cox had a bit of excitement at the conclusion of her ride when one of the horses in the warm up dumped his rider and galloped into the arena where she was saluting the judge; no one was injured and Cox's score was unaffected.)
"I was proud not only of the way that my team rode this weekend, but of all of the effort they put into organizing the entire show," coach Danielle Menteer said.
The Albion team currently sits third in the regional standings but the top three schools are only separated by four points, setting up an exciting spring season as teams begin to look forward to the national championship in April.
The next competition for Briton dressage will be at Lake Erie College on February 19.
Sneed Leads Dressage Team at MSU
A two year hiatus from intercollegiate dressage competition did not hinder senior Kjirsten Sneed (Washburn, Wis./Washburn) at Albion's opening meet of the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) season on October 16 and 17. In the double-header hosted by Michigan State University, Sneed led her team with two victories in the First Level division, securing the divisional lead individually in the region. She also achieved Saturday's high score of the show with a remarkable 75%.
"Having Kjirsten return to the team as a senior gives our team a solid, experienced leader to look to," coach Danielle Menteer said. "We have a lot of relatively inexperienced riders this year so she's able to mentor them."
In addition to returning riders Sarah Morris (South Lyon/South Lyon), Alyssa Olson (Clarkston/Clarkston), Nicole Howey (Brandon, SD/Brandon Valley) and Greer Clemons (Powell, OH/Olentangy), the team also fields new faces with first-year students Johnna Serydynski (Wood River Junction, RI/The Prout School) and Samantha Green (Algonac/Algonac). Transfer Nora Cox (Minneapolis, Minn./Home School) rounds out the roster, which Menteer says shows promise for future competitions as they continue to gel as a team.
Indeed, by the Sunday portion of the double-header, Albion's "A" team had come together enough to secure a second place team finish out of the eleven competing teams.
The Britons' next competition will be a home contest on November 20.
BHS Students Pass Stage 1 Examinations
For every college or university student, the end of the fall semester always brings with it the intensity of final exams. For the four students enrolled in Albion's British Horse Society (BHS) certification program, their final exams included not only their classroom work, but also their Stage One examinations in riding, horse knowledge, and horse care at the equestrian center.
Demonstrating their hard work over the course of the semester, sophomore Alyssa Olson and first-year students Samantha Green, Katie Heim, and Anna Travis successfully completed and passed all sections of the exam.
Administered by Held Equestrian Center director George Halkett (BHS II, reg.), the Stage One examination consisted of a riding portion on the flat and a practical section in the stable, during which students had to demonstrate their proficiency in handling horses in an unmounted setting, as well as give verbal explanations that demonstrated their knowledge about stable management.
"Despite their nervousness, each student proved to me that they have progressed in this course since they started in August," Halkett said. "I was pleased to see their improvement."
Having completed their Stage One requirements, the four will spend the spring semester preparing for their Stage Two requirements, which will include more advanced riding and horse handling skills, as well as a demonstration of increased knowledge in the areas of horse health, stable management, and equine business management. The Stage Two examinations will be held in May of 2011.
Albion College, Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center Earn State Environmental Certification
Bobby Lee Albion College Communication Office
Albion College made history on October 29, 2009 as the first college in the State of Michigan to become certified in the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP). Additionally, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is recognizing the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center at the college as a verified farm in the Livestock, Farmstead and Cropping Systems for implementing appropriate pollution prevention practices.
Never before has a property been recognized in both programs, which is a remarkable accomplishment.
"MAEAP and MTESP are designed to be one of the most effective and feasible ways for producers to position their farms long term for safeguarding both the environment and their economic viability," said Don Koivisto, Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director. "By sharing technological information and monitoring and recording changes in the way producers manage problems, MAEAP helps farmers find solutions for potential pollution problems."
Interest in Michigan's voluntary, proactive programs for certifying and assuring effective land stewardship practices is growing. The programs help turfgrass managers and farmers comply with state and federal environmental regulations and implement best management practices.
"I personally want to thank the Michigan golf course superintendents for leading the way with the development of the MTESP. Educational institutions, park systems, and government operations need to adopt the MTESP for the common good. It will enhance all operations and protect our valuable Michigan fresh water," said Albion College President Donna Randall.
The MAEAP and MTESP are collaborative efforts with producers, MDA, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Farm Bureau, commodity organizations, Michigan State University, conservation groups, and other state and federal agencies. MTESP was launched with the golf industry and has expanded to include schools, parks, lawn care companies and golf courses, all of which can become certified environmental stewards.
MAEAP encompasses three systems designed to help producers evaluate the environmental risks of their operation. Each system – Livestock, Farmstead, and Cropping – examines a different aspect of a farm, as each has a different environmental impact. By participating in all three systems, producers can comprehensively evaluate their entire farming operation for potential environmental risks.
Both the MTESP and the MAEAP follow a comprehensive three step process which includes attending educational seminars, conducting a thorough on-site risk assessment with a trained professional, and developing and implementing an action plan addressing potential environmental risks. An MDA inspection verifies practice implementation.
Albion College Director of Grounds, Mark Frever, believes this is a highly valuable process, "There is no discussion of sustainability, if we don't protect our natural resources first". To remain active in the programs, inspections must be conducted every three years and action steps must be followed. The beauty of these multi-year programs is that they allow properties to meet personal objectives, while best managing both time and resources.
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