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UK Equestrian Team to defend its national championship title
After another year of success in the show ring, the University of Kentucky's Equestrian Team will defend its 2008 national championship title April 23-25 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships. This year's competition is hosted by Middle Tennessee State University.
UK's hunt seat team was again named high point team in the region and will compete as a team for the third year in a row. The team also will be represented by the high point riders in the region, including senior Jenny Gordon who will be riding for the hunt seat division's Cacchione Cup and senior Molly Peyton, riding for the western division's American Quarter Horse Association high point rider. These are highly coveted titles in the region and both riders compete in the open - or most advanced - division. There will also be two other riders competing who qualified individually.
This year's hunt seat team will be represented by sophomore Ali Cibon, Gordon, sophomore Katie Kearney, freshman Lizz Kunz, freshman Lauren Patterson, senior Rebecca Wichard and senior Marcy Woods. The individual hunt seat qualifiers include Cibon in intermediate equitation on the flat and intermediate equitation over fences and senior Victoria Willock in novice equitation over fences.
According to faculty advisor Bob Coleman, a nationals' appearance is a tremendous accomplishment by the riders, and the team's success is a direct reflection of the hard work and time spent by the team's two coaches, Michelle Zimmer and Bennie Sargent. The hunt seat team is coached by Zimmer and rides at Robert Murphy Stables. The stock seat team is coached by Sargent and rides at High Point Equestrian Center.
"Our hard work and consistent riding has paid off, as shown by the team's qualification for nationals for the third year in a row. I am so proud of all of the girls who have worked so hard to qualify for regionals, zones and nationals this year, both individually and those who will be representing UK as a team," said Louise Bowden, the team's public relations officer. "It has really been a team effort to get where we are today, and where we have been these past few years. I wish them all the best of luck."
The support of the numerous sponsors and the hard work from team members for fundraising greatly contributes to this team's national successes. Sponsors include UK's Equine Initiative, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and the Kentucky Equine Education Project.
The UK Equestrian Team, a College of Agriculture club team, has approximately 70 riders that compete in Intercollegiate Horse Show Association shows. UK competes in Zone 6, Region 2. Region 2 is made up of Miami University of Ohio, Midway College, Morehead State University, Ohio University Southern, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Wilmington College and Xavier University. Established in 1967, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association encompasses 29 regions in nine zones and has more than 300 member colleges in 45 states and Canada, representing more than 6,500 riders in both hunt seat equitation, western horsemanship and reining.
Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competitions are unique from the horse shows most people are familiar with. During IHSA shows, a rider draws an unfamiliar horse's name randomly, and is then judged on his or her ability to ride that horse in equitation and/or jumping classes. There is no warm-up time. This framework was designed to provide a level playing field for college riders and gives students the opportunity to compete in horse shows without having to own and care for their own horse.
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