HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championship held at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa. concluded on May 6 with local schools bringing home top prizes.
The Skidmore College Thoroughbreds maintained a lead throughout the show and finished with 30 points, earning them the right to take the Collegiate Cup home to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Reserve champions Savannah College of Art and Design were just two points behind and Stanford University was third with 22 points.
St. Lawrence University in New York was sixth and Centenary University of New Jersey was ninth.
Skidmore head coach Cindy Ford credited the teamwork of assistant coach Belinda Colgan and the rest of the staff for their success. This group, she said, could work anywhere at the top of the industry. She also complimented her students for being academically strong, motivated and hard-working. The strong string of Skidmore horses also contribute to their success.
“I’m careful who I choose on my team,” Ford said. “We give them (the students) a lot of attention. I have an amazing group of horses that have been donated to us. They’re cared for as show horses. They have the best veterinarians, the best farriers and they mean the world to us. Between the horses, the staff and the students it’s just a no-brainer. And yet, It still does become the luck of the draw.”
Skidmore’s horse, Clay, who produced many top rounds, was awarded the SmartPak Most Popular Hunter Seat Horse.
In the USEF/Cacchione Cup, riders from four local schools placed in the top 10. Hannah Tuckner, of Skidmore College was third. Elizabeth Traband of Penn State University, was fourth. Skylar Laakso of Centenary University was sixth and Alicia Weismann of New Jersey’s Rider University, was 10th.
Makayla Benjamin, a senior at Sweet Briar in Virginia went from eighth place in the top 10 to win the championship. Her final ride was aboard Collins from Cazenovia College in New York.
Collins, was awarded the Triple Crown High Point Hunter Seat Horse
Centenary Rider Wins Open Equitation Over Fences
The nationals kicked off with Open Equitation Over Fences, sponsored by Collegiate, Windham Hill, LLC and Athletic Equestrian League. Centenary University junior, Michael Andrade, of Poughquag, N.Y., earned the national championship aboard Clay. Andrade was in second place at the end of the first round and the judges asked the top-four riders to return for a challenging test. They were asked to counter canter two jumps and lengthen the stride to the last jump.
“He’s a stylish rider and the horse is a lovely horse,” said Heather Clark, who coaches the Centenary University team along with Michael Dowling.
“He did a beautiful job of pulling off the counter canter,” Dowling said. “He also demonstrated a true lengthening of stride. He never got out of the tack — it wasn’t a hand gallop. He read the horse well and improved. I think that is really important in intercollegiate riding. We’re grateful for the very nice horse provided by Skidmore.”
“It’s awesome, it means a lot,” said Andrade, who won both the Open Flat in both Team and Individual in 2017. “I have to thank Heather Clark and Michael Dowling for all they do. I was told he only landed on the left lead so going into the first round I sank into the tack a bit more and got used to him and into the work off. I knew his stride and he did everything for me. I’m so happy for that. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Just a few weeks earlier the 2018 American National Riding Commission, (ANRC), Championship was held at Frying Pan Farm Park, Va. Andrade's consistency throughout all phases clinched the title of ANRC Individual National Champion for 2018.
The Centenary University team, composed of four student-riders, two student-grooms, four of the University's top horses, and two coaches, had a strong overall performance that secured them the 2018 National Reserve Championship.
Andrade hopes to ride professionally after school.
First Year Head Coach Leads Findlay To Western Team Championships
The final day of the 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championship Horse Show featured the conclusion of the Western divisions.
The AQHA National Champion Team University of Findlay took home the trophy after a stunning victory over talented teams from across the country. Ohio State University was named reserve champion.
In his first year at the helm as head coach, Spencer Zimmerman led the Findlay Oilers to the win, but he credits his students and the Findlay program for their success.
“The team’s dedication to one another set them apart — helping each other get to the pen, schooling each other at home, hours of practice to come out here and shine,” Zimmerman said. “I am proud of my riders for putting it all out there in the pen and remembering everything we practiced at home. It really showed.”
Zimmerman, who is from Newport, Pa., not far from Harrisburg, has spent the last two years as assistant coach to his predecessor Cindy Morehead, who retired last year. And he knows what it is like to walk in his students’ boots.
“I was on the team for four years and I got to compete under Cindy, Clark Bradley and Jake Bowman,” he said. “It has come full circle close to my hometown.”
During his time on the team Findlay earned two national championships.
The Triple Crown High Point Western Horse award went to Sarah, owned by Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y.
Locals Pin In Alumni Classes
Stephanie Zimicki, a graduate of Alfred University won the alumni flat class. David Sookey, III, who studied at Morrisville State College in New York was third.
In the fences class Chelsea Koerper, a graduate of Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania was the winner . Samantha Page , a Syracuse University product was third and Caitlyn Fagan, Skidmore College was 10th.
Pennsylvania’s Lafayette College alumnus Rebecca Folk was third in western horsemanship. Cody Koneski, a grad of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania was seventh in reining.
Next year's Nationals will be held in Syracuse, New York.
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