Halloween or not, Albion wasn't afraid to send its full dressage team south to the University of Findlay on October 31 and two first-year riders led the day.
Bria Flanagan (Harrisburg, SD / Lincoln) came third in the Lower Training division and Skyler Campbell (Grand Rapids / Caledonia) snagged a fourth in Introductory to put the Briton A and Briton B teams on the scoreboard, but unfortunately their efforts couldn't boost the teams past their competitors and Albion finished in seventh and eighth place at the conclusion.
Were there an award for the most creative group costume, however, all teams present conceded that Albion easily took the win with its zoo-themed attire. Each rider sported a zoo animal headband and coach Danielle Menteer wore a baseball cap that announced her status as "World's Best Zookeeper."
Team co-captain Emma Stapley '16 said, "Everyone had so much fun cheering each other on and running around in zoo animal ears despite the fact that the show [itself] didn't go quite as well as we hoped in terms of placings."
Unfazed by windy conditions, a young Briton dressage team started the season with a second place finish on the first day of the double-header show hosted by Michigan State University. The second half of the show saw the team finish fifth of the nine teams present.
With six freshman riders and two seniors in the mix, the team didn’t let inexperience with the intercollegiate format deter them. Freshman Kenzie Bush (St. Clair/Marysville) drew Albion College’s own Rockefeller for her Lower Training class on Saturday and came away with the win. She later notched a third place finish in the division in the Sunday half of the show.
Freshman Skyler Campbell (Grand Rapids/Caledonia) also made a strong first showing with a third place finish at Introductory level on Sunday.
Team co-captains Emma Stapley (Rockford/Rockford) and Paige Beliveau (West Newbury, Mass./St. Thomas Aquinas) said, “We can’t believe how lucky we are to be captains of such an amazing group of riders! We have a very young team, but everyone had incredibly great attitudes all weekend and worked really hard to make the show successful and fun for everyone.”
The Briton dressage team travels to the University of Findlay (Ohio) for their next meet on October 31.
The regular regional shows ended in February for the dressage team, but Jackson Regen (Nashville, Tenn./Hillsboro) had to wait until mid-April to find out that he had won a wildcard spot to compete at the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) Nationals. Regen joined teammates Paige Beliveau (West Newbury, Mass./St. Thomas Aquinas) and Jourdan Tonti (Livonia/Livonia Churchill) to compete as individuals at the competition hosted by Ohio’s Otterbein University April 24-26.
Coach Danielle Menteer left a day early along with two other teammates in order to trailer four Albion horses to Otterbein that were used in the competition draw. They spent the weekend schooling and taking care of the horses to prepare them for the show.
By the end of the long day of fierce individual competition, the Albion riders had finished in the top ten of their three levels. Tonti secured fifth place in Introductory level, Beliveau won sixth place in First level, and Regen took home eighth place in Upper Training level.
Without a full team this year (Albion competed all year with two spots unfilled), these were very well deserved rewards for a successful year! Next year the team hopes to be able to host a home show, which they were unable to do this year due to construction at the Held Equestrian Center.
The Albion dressage team's final show of their regular season was actually two shows, a double header hosted by Lake Erie College on February 21and 22. By the end of the weekend, the Briton riders had much to celebrate with two riders officially qualified to compete at the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Championships.
Junior Paige Beliveau (West Newbury, Mass. / St. Thomas Acquinas) and first-year Jourdan Tonti (Livonia / Livonia Churchill) were both named Regional Champions in First Level and Introductory level respectively. They will both advance to IDA Nationals to compete against the best collegiate riders from every region.
Junior Jackson Regen (Nashville, Tenn. / Hillsboro) finished as Regional Reserve Champion, which earns him a wild-card spot for Nationals. Wild-card riders with the highest average percentages win the slot, so Regen must wait until all the other regional shows are completed before knowing the results.
After a tough season recovering from ankle surgery, senior Kayleigh Harvey (Ada/Forest Hills Eastern) finished the year strong winning both of her classes in Upper Training level and coming in third place overall for the region.
IDA Nationals will be held on April 24-26 at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.