Tuesday, May 8, 2012

7th Consecutive Top Ten National Finals Finish

Stanford Equestrian Team, 9th National Finals
After seven consecutive Regional and Zone championships, the Stanford Equestrian Team headed to Raleigh, NC to compete in the IHSA National Finals from May 3-6. The young team, comprised of only one junior and one senior, performed well against the field of some of the best teams in the country and finished 9th. In addition, the team brought home nine total top ten placings, the second highest ribbon count in Stanford’s history, including seven ribbons in team classes, a new Stanford record. 

Freshman Claire Margolis, 3rd in the Cacchione Cup
Freshman Claire Margolis put in a stellar first appearance for Stanford, finishing third in the very competitive Cacchione Cup medal finals. After sitting for the first three days of travel, warm-up, and competition, she earned an 88 in the first over fences round on UVA’s Scooby Doo, the highest score awarded of all 36 in the class and one of the highest scores of the show. Her flatwork scored an 81, making her one of three riders invited back for a work-off over a course that featured a trot fence and hand gallop. In addition to her success in the Cacchione Cup, Margolis earned an 82 in Team Open Fences and grabbed a ribbon in Team Open Flat.

Senior Justine Thomas, 5th Individual Novice Fences
Team co-president, senior Justine Thomas, attended her third National Finals in Team Intermediate Flat and Individual Novice Fences, breaking Stanford's record for number of Nationals appearances. Thomas has ridden in six total classes at the national level, winning ribbons in five. This time around, she put in a smooth and forward round and finished 5th in Individual Novice Fences, followed by a 9th in Team Intermediate Flat.

Freshman Wei Ling Heng, 5th Team Walk/Trot

Stanford has a long history of success in the Walk Trot division (with nine ribbons and three national champions), and freshman Wei Ling Heng made all  those former and future generations of Stanford walk-trotters very proud with a strong ride. Hailing from Malaysia, Heng showed off the two-point, sitting trot and perfect execution of her diagonals for a 5th place finish.

The team’s Novice riders, freshman Erin Gray and sophomore Morgan Abbett, were both outstanding, each claiming a ribbon for the Cardinal. Gray did a fabulous job in her first post-season showing with an 8th in Team Novice Flat. Current hunt seat team, Abbett, drew a very round warmblood, Pretzel from St. Lawrence, and had a very steady round, taking a 10th for the team in Novice Fences.

Team seniors, Erica Keenan and Justine Thomas (with the Team's mascot)

Sophomore Sarah Jacobson repeated her appearance at a national finals in Team Walk Trot Canter and drew a lovely but lazy horse. With the temperature in the high 90’s, Jacobson worked incredibly hard for her 8th place finish. Sr. Erica Keenan also had a challenging horse in Individual Walk Trot Canter and did a great job showing him off.

Junior Alison Smith in Team Intermediate Fences

Hailing from Louisiana, junior Alison Smith felt right at home in the extreme heat and put in a sharp ride on her Team Intermediate Fences horse. Her round was smart and balanced and her 78 earned her 12th in this very competitive class.

Riders showing off their Heritage Gloves and GPA Speed Airs

Stanford thanks all of its sponsors for their support over the 2012-13 competition season. Joining existing supporters Ariat, Boehringer Ingelheim, CWD and Equitex, the Cardinal was thrilled to welcome GPA Helmets and Heritage Performance Gloves as partners. The riders at the national finals competed in their Speed Airs and all commented on their comfort and breathability, especially in the hot weather. Additionally, in their Heritage Pro-Comp Show Gloves, riders' hands stayed cool (and they were still even able to text out results thanks to the gloves' touch-screen friendly technology).

IDA National Finals

Sr. Kate Erickson riding Maestro to 7th

On April 27-29, senior Kate Erickson traveled to Centenary College in New Jersey for the Intercollegiate Dressage Association national finals. Stanford’s Dressage Team narrowly missed attending the finals after tying for the IDA Regional championship and losing the tie-breaker score. Erickson became only the second Cardinal rider to attend IDA Nationals and did an exemplary job, riding Maestro in the Individual Open, 1st Level division. With a score of 67.5%, Erickson competed in a field of USDF medalists and came away with 7th place.