Three Albion dressage riders stamped their tickets to the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) national championship show during the double-header at Lake Erie College (Painesville, OH) over the weekend, capping an already-strong season for the Britons.
Lauren Levy (Amherst, MA/Stoneleigh-Burnham School) led the team with first and second place finishes at First Level, respectively. Levy made the switch to Albion’s dressage team in the fall after two successful years on the hunt seat team.
Following her example were junior Alyssa Olson (Clarkston/Clarkston), who qualified for nationals at Lower Training Level and first-year student Paige Gustafson (Dexter/Dexter), who will compete in Upper Training Level.
It will be the first IDA National Championship appearance for all three students, but not for coach Danielle Menteer, who has taken Albion riders to the national level every year since her arrival at the Held Equestrian Center in the fall of 2007.
“This has been a very strong team all season and it’s exciting to still have one more show ahead of us,” Menteer said. “All of our riders worked hard this season and I’ve been consistently impressed with how far everyone’s riding has come since fall.”
Other notable performances over the weekend came from first-year Paige Trudeau (Howell/Howell), who earned a second place finish at Upper Training Level and team captain Nora Cox (Minneapolis, MN/Homeschool) who finished in third place at Introductory Level.
The 2012 IDA National Championship competition will be hosted by Centenary College (Hackettstown, NJ) on April 28 and 29.
Equestrian Riders Receive Visit From IHSA Founder
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.