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UK Equestrian Team Has Solid National Performance

By Sara Tracy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2007) – The University of Kentucky Equestrian Team was among the top 18 college teams competing in the recent Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s national competition.

UK’s Hunt Seat Team placed ninth overall at the national competition in Springfield, Mass., May 3-6. Individual equestrian team members also received honors.

The UK Equestrian Team, a College of Agriculture club team, has approximately 60 riders. 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.

UK’s hunt seat team earned a place at nationals based on its year-long accomplishments in Zone 6, Region 2. UK’s hunt seat team qualified as an entity, designating it as one of the top two teams in UK’s zone competition. The hunt seat team consists of Meghan Blackburn, Louise Bowden, Diana Glenney, Aleshia Mathis, Molly Peyton, Kathleen Reed, Callie Schott and Becka Wichard.

National competition results were as follows:
• U.S. Equestrian Federation Cacchione Cup - Callie Schott, second place.
• Open Equitation on the Flat - Diana Glenney, second place
• Intermediate Equitation Over Fences (team) - Molly Peyton, ninth place
• Novice Equitation over Fences (team) - Meghan Blackburn, 17th place

In addition to riding as part of UK’s hunt seat team, Schott also competed in the individual Cacchione Cup Championship. Schott qualified for this prestigious competition by being the top rider in the region for combined Open Flat and Open Fence points. The competition was composed of a jumping portion and an equitation portion, followed by a test of the top riders at the conclusion of those phases.

“At nationals, competitors rode against about 18 others in each class and the competition was tough. The students did very well and were great representatives of UK. We are proud of all riders who made it to nationals, as that is a great accomplishment,” said Bob Coleman, Associate Director for Equine Science and Management and UK Equestrian Team adviser, “The winner of the Cacchione Cup is the top hunt seat rider for IHSA, so being second out of 30 riders is a terrific accomplishment.”

Lacey Werczynski was UK’s only rider to attend nationals in individual competition, riding for UK’s stock seat team. Werczynski placed in the top 12 in Open Horsemanship.

“Our coaches were instrumental in helping us get to this level of competition. It's difficult when you get that far because everyone in that ring shares the same goal, to win. However, you have to think about the journey, how you got there, the fun you’ve had, and the people that were instrumental in making it all happen,” said Werczynski, “That's what makes it all worth it. Sure it's great to win but the ride lays out the icing on the cake.

“We have to thank our sponsors and coaches, Bennie Sargent and Michelle Zimmer, who made this all possible, as well as Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Kentucky Equine Education Project, Dr. Bob Coleman, and especially Mitch Barnhart, UK’s athletics director, who gave us a very generous donation to help our team,” she added.

Established in 1967, IHSA 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. In IHSA, horses are provided by the university hosting the horse show. Riders randomly draw a horse’s name directly before competing. They are then required to compete on the unfamiliar horse, without a chance to practice before they are judged.

According to the IHSA web site, “The organization was founded on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows, regardless of his or her financial status or riding level…The objective of IHSA competition is to offer the opportunity to riders in their first years of riding as well as to students with show experience. Eliminating the expense of shipping or even owning horses puts IHSA competitions within reach of many who would otherwise miss the equestrian experience.”

For more information about IHSA, visit: http://www.ihsainc.com.

Contact: Bob Coleman 859-257-9451
              Holly Wiemers 859-257-4883

The UK College of Agriculture, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

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Copyright 2001-2006 University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service

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