Team hopes to gallop to nationals

Contributing Writer
Friday, October 7, 2011

The equestrian team is heading into the season with high hopes after winning the Ivy League Championship last year and placing just short of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Nationals. This season, the team will have one goal: making it to Nationals .  

Equestrian involves competing in various horse shows and accumulating points throughout the season.

“We go to a horse show, and we’re given a random horse to ride on,” said Allison Dungey ’13.  

In the shows, riders are scored on showmanship, proper handling and technique.   

“It’s all about looking good as you’re on your horse,” said Laura Kirk ’14.  

There are different divisions in equestrian, ranging from walk-trot for beginners to the open class for more advanced riders.

“It’s not about being the best, but you need to be the best for your tier,” Kirk said.  

Dungey and Kirk compete in the intermediate fences and walk-trot, respectively. Both riders have been significant contributors to the team’s past success and its Ivy League championship titles.   

Dungey and Kirk emphasized the occasional difficulty of riding a different horse each show.

“They have personalities that are very distinct from each other,” Kirk said. “Sometimes, you have to show them you’re in charge.”

Led by Head Coach Michaela Scanlon, the team will open its season with a show against Johnson and Wales Oct. 8 in Rehoboth, Mass. The Bears will be pitted against other Rhode Island schools throughout the fall season, such as Roger Williams and the University of Rhode Island, a perennial rival. During its fall campaign last year, the team breezed through the competition, placing first in five of six shows.

At last year’s Zone Championships — the final hurdle the team faced before the IHSA Nationals — the team placed third overall, behind Mt. Holyoke and the University of New Hampshire, which was one place shy of qualifying for nationals. The team, inspired by last season’s disappointing finish, will be working hard throughout the year to ensure its spot at this spring’s championships.

Dungey and Kirk pointed to Rebecca McGoldrick ’12 and Lindsay Wong ’13 as the two most skilled riders on the team, both of whom will be competing for the title of the top rider in the region.