Bob Cacchione started the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association as a teenager at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. The organization now boasts a membership of more than 380 colleges and 9,000 riders, but the executive director drew on the humble beginning to inspire the Albion College equestrian program during his Feb. 10-11 visit to the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center.
"You have a dream. Follow that dream, work hard and make it happen," Cacchione said when asked about his message to Albion riders at Feb. 10 pizza party. "Doors have been opened for you already in this industry. Now you go through those doors."
The Albion College stock seat team kicked off the second half of their season in style on January 15, qualifying not one, but four riders for the upcoming IHSA regional meet.
Katie Petchell (Pinckney/Pinckney), who won a regional championship last year and competed at the 2011 IHSA Semi-Finals, led the group, earning her second consecutive qualification in the open and reining divisions. She also set the example for the three first-year students who stamped own tickets to the regional meet for the very first time: Morgan Carey (Hemlock/St. Charles Community) and Elle Root (Alpena/Alpena) both qualified in the intermediate division and Chantal Chuba (Grosse Pointe Park/Grosse Pointe South) qualified in walk-trot.
Senior Olivia Choate (Fenwick/Gratton Academy) also won her final open division class, a win that puts her in good stead heading into the upcoming regional show, for which she qualified earlier in the season.
As a team, the Britons finished third overall in the regular season standings for IHSA Zone 6 Region 4, after a third place team result in the morning half of Sunday’s double-header and a fourth in the afternoon. They will gain home field advantage in the regional meet on February 25, as it will be hosted at the Albion College Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center.
Dressage Team Sweeps at Home
The Briton dressage team wasn't content to merely continue the unbeaten streak their "A" team had begun at the first meet of the season when they hosted their annual home meet on November 19. Instead, they took their riding to a whole new level, sweeping not only the overall team award, but also winning both individual high-score awards.
Victorious! From L-R: Samantha Green, Robin Todd, Paige Gustafson, Alyssa Olson, and coach Danielle Menteer."One of the riders from Central Michigan did the math and calculated that the chance of one team sweeping all of the top awards at a single meet was something like .001 percent," said coach Danielle Menteer. "I was very proud of all of them."
Under the watchful eyes of FEI judge Sarah Michael '75, nine teams of riders faced off at the beginning of the day and, by the end, Albion's "A" team had seized a large lead to take the victory. Albion's "B" team also had a strong showing, earning a fifth place finish.
Three-year team veteran Alyssa Olson (Clarkston/Clarkston) had the ride of her college career to-date, scoring just over 68 percent in the Lower Training division to take the individual high score award for the day. Just behind her in the numbers race was first-year rider Paige Gustafson (Dexter/Dexter) in the Upper Training division, who finished as the reserve high-score rider. Rounding out Albion's "A" team with wins of their own to seal the win were Robin Todd (Mill Valley, CA/Tamiscal) at First Level and Samantha Green (Algonac/Algonac) in the Introductory division.
Following the intercollegiate meet, judge Sarah Michael stayed on to oversee a small dressage schooling show put on by the Albion team as a fundraising event. The high score award for the schooling show went to Phillipa Humphreys aboard LF Rhythm and Blues and reserve high point went to Albion's own Sarah Cocks, wife of history professor Geoffrey Cocks, riding Albion College Big Rapids.
Strong Finish for Stock Seat at Grand Valley
The Albion College stock seat team finished strongly at Grand Valley State University in their final meet of the fall semester, earning a reserve team championship in the second half of the day-long double-header.Katie Petchell executes a sliding stop during her ride-off.
Led by open division rider Katie Petchell (Pinckney/Pinckney) in the first show, the Britons secured a fourth place finish. Petchell was also called into a ride-off for reserve high-point individual in the first show after earning two second place finishes in open horsemanship and in reining.
Other notable finishers were Chelsea Utt (Harbor Springs/Petoskey) with a second in her section of open horsemanship, first-year Megan McNeil (Onondaga/Jackson Christian) with double seconds in her sections of the novice division, first-year Morgan Carey (Hemlock/St. Charles Community) with double seconds in the intermediate II division, and a second for walk trot rider Chantal Chuba (Grosse Pointe Park/Grosse Pointe South) in the afternoon show.
With exams and the end of the school semester fast-approaching, the Albion stock seat team will take a break from competition until January. They currently sit in third place in the overall regional standings.