Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hunt Seat Wins at Berkeley and Western Heads to Postseason

Stanford's English team started its winter competition season at Graceland Equestrian Center, home of the UC Berkeley Equestrian Team. Under the leadership of coach Diane Yeager, the Cal team put on its first show and nearly took home the championship for the day in the field of nine teams. Though freshman Claire Margolis finished 2nd and 3rd in Open Fences and Flat, and senior Justine Thomas took 2nd and 5th in Intermediate Flat and Nov. Fences, Berkeley sophomore Taylor Harris's two wins in Open Flat and Fences left Stanford working to take the lead.

Thanks to sophomore Morgan Abbett's blue in Nov Fences and senior Maddy Session's 1st place finish in Nov Flat, the Cardinal turned on the heat and, with a 1st by sophomore Althea Wallop and 2nd from sophomore Sarah Jacobson (both in Walk-Trot-Canter), Stanford finished on top for the day.

Stanford looks ahead to competing on Saturday, February 3rd at UC Davis and to the final two shows of the season, held Feb 11th and 12th at the Red Barn.

Stanford's Western team finished its regular season with some exceptional riding from its young team. In a growth year (without riders in all eligible classes), the Western team consistently finished in the top ribbons. With Western's focus on the development and qualification of its individual athletes, three riders had near-perfect years and earned a berth to the Regional Finals.

Sophomore Laura Benard (pictured above) was the first Cardinal equestrian to qualify for the postseason. After pointing out of Advanced in the first show of the year, Benard went on to earn wins for Stanford in Open Horsemanship and Reining.

Her teammate, sophomore Alina Benavides, was the next Red Barn rider to best her region. With multiple wins in Walk-Jog, Benavides moved on to a successful career in Intermediate with back-to-back wins at UC Davis.

Finally, coming off his individual regional reserve championship and semi-finals championship in Intermediate in the 2010-11 season, Western captain, senior Logan Hehn, pulled off an impressive 40 points in only 7 shows, allowing him to qualify for Regionals in only one year at the Novice level.

The Western and Hunt Seat Zone 8, Region 1 Regional Finals will be held at Stanford on Feb 26th.