Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stanford Western and Dressage Teams Off to a Strong Start

Stanford’s Western team completed five of its seven regular season shows in October, coming home with several accolades which included High Point Team honors as well as High Point Rider. The season began at Sonoma State, where So. Laura Benard became the first rider in the region to qualify for the 2012 Regional Finals. Benard’s 3rd in Advanced put her over the 36 points needed to move into the Open division and to secure a spot at Regionals. At the Oct 23 show at College of the Sequoias, Benard entered the ranks of Open with style, claiming her first High Point Rider title by besting the field with a win in Horsemanship and a 5th in Reining. On October 30, in Cal Poly SLO, Benard took her second High Point ribbon with a win in Horsemanship and a 2nd in Reining.

So. Alina Benavides became the second Cardinal equestrian to qualify for Regionals, waltzing away from the Walk-Jog division with a steady string of ribbons. Benavides then handed over the reins in Walk-Jog to Fr. Reno Tsosie, who took his first win in the IHSA at Cal Poly. Also taking home blues for Stanford were Sr. Logan Hehn (with wins at both COS and Cal Poly in Novice) and Fr. Anne Stickells (who now has a collection of 1st and 2nd place ribbons in Intermediate). With the efforts of Benard, Tsosie, and their teammates, the Stanford Western team won its first High Point Team award of the year on Sunday at Cal Poly.

The Dressage team had its first pair of shows of the season on October 22 and 23, also in Cal Poly. Though the Dressage team only carries a roster of six riders, due to having several members currently studying overseas, it made a commanding debut with a High Point and Res. High Point victory in the double-header in San Luis Obispo. Helping lead the charge was Sr. Kate Erickson, who won her First Level test on Saturday (along with taking High Point Rider with the highest score of the day) and placed 2nd, again in First Level, on Sunday. First-year graduate student Marilu Corona had a great start to her IDA career with a 2nd place finish in Intro. So. Olivia Cords rode to a 2nd in her first-ever dressage test as an individual in Lower Training.

Though the Hunt Seat team has not yet started its regular season, it has also seen some action. On Saturday, October 30, several riders traveled to California's central valley and Fresno State to compete in a NCAA varsity scrimmage. Though the varsity format is quite different from the IHSA—riders are compete a dressage/sportif test instead of riding a flat class, shows are head-to-head with only two schools, courses and tests are given out two weeks in advance, and all riders are given four minutes of warm-up—the Cardinal had a great showing. Each horse is ridden twice—once by a rider from the host school and once by a rider from the visiting school, with one point awarded to the team whose rider gets the higher score. Over fences, Fr. Claire Margolis and Sr. Emily Livermore (who compete in Open for Stanford), as well as Sr. Justine Thomas (who competes in Novice fences) each took a point. Sr. Rachel Kolb (who competes in Intermediate) and Livermore each took a win or tie on the flat. All in all, the scrimmage was a fantastic effort by Stanford and a wonderful opportunity to gain additional show-ring experience.

Up next: the Hunt Seat team begins its season this weekend, Nov. 5 and 6th, at home at the Stanford Red Barn. We look forward to a great show as we host teams from UC Berkeley, Cal Poly SLO, College of the Sequoias, UC Davis, UN Reno, Santa Clara, UC Santa Cruz, and Sonoma State.