Currently in fourth place of their division, the Seton Hill University (SHU) equestrian team looks to be a tough competitor in their upcoming spring season. Starting February 28 they will be competing in four more shows to round out the 2009 season.
By Beth Anne Swartzwelder
Currently in fourth place of their division, the Seton Hill University (SHU) Equestrian team looks to be a tough competitor in their upcoming spring season. Starting February 28 they will be competing in four more shows to round out the 2009 season.
“It’s been a great season so far. Two girls will be attending regionals this spring and we’re hoping to have a few others as well,” said coach, Abbe Wagenblast.
To date, the girls have competed in shows at Slippery Rock University (SRU), West Virginia University (WVU), University of Buffalo and the University of Pittsburgh, finishing up their fall season at WVU a second time on November 15.
All of the girls who competed individually placed high in most of the shows, including freshman Alexandra Kemp-Thompson, who was surprised with her results.
“Coming into the season into the IHSA in the Intermediate and Open divisions where I am competing against some well accomplished seniors, I am really very happy to have placed at each of our five fall horse show,” she said. “Usually I am very hard on myself…but now looking back on it I realize that adjusting to the format of the IHSA was an accomplishment itself, let alone placing at every show. It has been a very successful season so far, and I’m looking to improve on it as spring season comes around.”
Kemp-Thompson said that the final WVU show was her most successful show of the season, where she placed first in her Intermediate Over Fences class and placed fifth in the Open Final Under Saddle tournament.
Senior Erin Albert thought that the Pittsburgh and Buffalo doubleheader stood out as far as one of her own best shows, as well as the team’s best.
“The results were good both days,” she said. “As a team we hung with the larger teams [that] were quite competitive. For Buffalo’s horse show, I was the High Point Rider. I was second place in the Open Over Fences class, and first in the Open Flat class.”
“So, I had the most points individually of all the other riders at the horse show. This was great and as a team we did very well!”
Junior Josey Miller also agreed with Albert, saying that Buffalo show was one of her best where she placed second.
As far as the spring season is concerned, the team is very positive and expects a good finish.
“As far as this season goes, I think we’ll do very well,” said coach, Wagenblast.
Albert and Miller both agree that the team’s current workout schedule should be enough to produce positive results in the spring.
“We just need to stay with what we are doing in our lessons and hope that we can get good horse draws at the shows,” said Albert. “Drawing a good horse at the shows is half of the battle. So, we just need to prepare the way we have been doing with hard work and do the best we can at the shows.”
Miller agreed. “We’ll just continue work outs during the week and working hard in our lessons.”
All of the girls have also set optimistic goals for themselves individually as far as the spring season goes. Kemp-Thompson said that she hopes “to place top three at every one of our four spring Horse Shows,” while Albert mainly wants to continue riding as she always has and “continue to get stronger as a rider.”
Miller’s goal was more specific. She said, “I’m looking to challenge myself at being more knowledgeable about the world of Hunt Seat. I grew up competing in proper form while riding. I learn more about what they’re looking for each lesson.”
Coach Wagenblast also sees a bright future for the equestrian team with some help from SHU.
“As far as the future goes, I see the Equestrian team growing much larger;” she said. “We get numerous inquiries about it all the time. I would also like to see more recruiting of riders than what we do now and, hopefully, more scholarship money be allocated for the team in the future.”
“I think that Seton Hill is a great school and is in a great situation to make the equestrian team huge.”
“It has been great to see the team grow in the past 4 years. We are a much stronger and more competitive team.”
“It is just amazing how all of the girls continue to improve and do well at all of the shows. The team has just grown so much and it is a great team to be a part of,” Albert said.