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Equestrian team bucks rivals, trots into fifth

The team cited its cohesiveness as key to its performance in the season’s final ride

The equestrian team wrapped up its fall season Saturday, trotting to fifth place at the Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Glades Ferry, Conn., where 20 riders competed for Bruno.

Co-captain Amanda Picciotto ’15 competed on both open fences and open flat. The former entails a horse completing a series of jumps alone in the ring, while the latter consists of a group of five to eight riders walking, trotting and cantering to the center of the ring.

Picciotto finished third in fences and was not pointed. She was pointed on flat, she said, but with a “less than favorable time,” placing fifth.

Elena Buchsbaum ’16, who usually competes in both the intermediate fences and the novice flat categories, did not jump Saturday, but she placed second in her flat class.

Buchsbaum said Saturday was full of great individual rides — in particular, those by Ariadne Ellsworth ’17, who won her flat and fences classes.

Ellsworth was reserve high point rider for the day, scoring the second-best results in the region.

Another strong performance came from Erika Lopez Garcia ’14, one of the newest walk trot riders. Buchsbaum said Garcia represents a “classic example of what college riding means,” as she had not ridden horses before coming to Brown.

“She rode beautifully,” Buchsbaum said.

Though the day was full of strong individual performances, Picciotto emphasized the sport’s team component as a key strength.

She recalled a friend once telling her that a team of 38 girls is bound to have an array of problems.

Picciotto said she looked at her friend “like she had six heads,” and said their team doesn’t have such issues.

“Everyone is behind you,” Picciotto said. When someone performs poorly, she added, the rider is disappointed because of its negative effect on the team score and not because of how it affects her individual score.

As one of the walk-trot riders finished Saturday, Picciotto said the team gathered ringside.

Everyone was crying, and “we did our little huddle even after the longest day,” she added.

Though the team did not end where it wanted to in the standings, Buchsbaum said, the riders will continue to lift and practice during their off-season and hope to “come back strong in the spring.”


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