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UConn club equestrian faces regional competition

Campus Correspondent

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

The UConn club equestrian team has its fifth show of the season on Saturday, and the Huskies will be competing against a full slate of Region 5 opposition. The team, which competes under the umbrella of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, has been enjoying a stellar 2012 season and currently holds an undefeated record of 4-0.

“This season is shaping up to be an incredible one,” Coach Alena Meachem said. “The team is in first place so far and has won every show.”

UConn competes predominantly against Connecticut schools, namely Connecticut College, Sacred Heart, Post University, Yale, Wesleyan, Fairfield, Central Connecticut and Coast Guard Academy. Each of those schools will be represented at the Saturday show.

Equestrian shows work in an interesting way, unlike most traditional horse and rider events. “In the morning the host team warms up all the horses while the visiting teams watch,” team member Brittney Lamark said. “Then, each rider is randomly assigned a horse and must ride that horse without any preparation. The shows are split into levels based on the rider’s previous experience, and they compete against riders from other teams at the same skill level. They are judged mostly on their position, which should be tall and elegant and, most importantly, effective. They should also show control and safety when riding their horse.”

Teams compete in five different riding divisions: Open, Intermediate, Novice, Walk Trot Canter and Walk Trot. Each team designates one rider as their point rider, who acquires points for their team. The team with the most points at the end of the show is declared the victor.

Coach Meachem was quick to point out three riders for their excellent performances thus far: Hayley Snell, Sarah Lerch and Kaitlyn Boggio.

“Hayley, Sarah and Kaitlyn are all outstanding riders, and they maintain their poise regardless of what horse they’re on,” Meachem said.

UConn is the reigning Region 5 champion, and the team is hoping to maintain its standing as one of the premier collegiate equestrian programs in the country. Thus far, it would appear that they are well on their way towards at least matching their success from last year.

“Going forward, we need to prepare for Zone competition, where we will be competing against the top team in each region of our Zone,” Meachem said. “There, the team needs to come in first or second to go on to the National finals. It would be a great accomplishment to make it to Nationals, and I think this team can do it.”

The show will begin at 7 p.m. this Saturday at Horsebarn Hill Arena.

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