Stock Seat Earns Reserve High Point in Season Opener
The Briton stock seat riders began their fall season with a reserve championship at their October 9 double-header hosted by Saginaw Valley State University. Zone qualifier from the 2009-2010 season, senior Sarah Spencer (Jonesville/Jonesville) led the team with placings in the novice division that qualified her for the regional competition in the spring.
Coached by Denise Webber, Albion's team came into the season carrying several returning riders who have considerable experience with the IHSA competition format. New to the draw this fall are first-year students Hanna Peeples (Montpelier, OH/Edon) and Michelle Miele (Bloomfield Hills/International Academy), both of whom have helped fill places in the crucial Walk-Trot division. (Many IHSA competitions come down to points earned in the Walk-Trot classes and it is one of the most hotly contested divisions in intercollegiate competition.)
Sophomore Amanda Douglas (Cheboygan/Cheboygan), now in her second year as a member of the team, said, "I was really proud of our team. We came on really strong in the morning and now we just need to consciously carry that across the whole day."
The Briton stock seat team next competes at home on October 16.
Britons Earn Third Place at Home Meet
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.