With just one show left in the regular season, the equestrian team remains unbeaten. Although the Red faced some challenges over the weekend at the Cornell Show, hosted at Oxley Equestrian Center, the squad pulled through and dominated the ring. Cornell finished the show with its highest score of the season. The squad increased its lead over Alfred University to 64 points and secured its position as regional champion, according to junior co-captain Emily Kowalchik and head coach Chris Mitchell.
“Based on how things were running I didn’t think, and I don’t think anyone else on the team thought, we were actually doing all that well,” Kowalchik said.
Although the Red had home field advantage, the responsibility of running a horse show gave the team much more to worry about than just its performance.
“It’s just a testament to how close the team is and how much we have figured out how this system works by now that even with all that other stuff going on we were still able to do our job and ride well,” Kowalchik said.
“I think [the show] was a huge confidence booster for us,” said senior co-captain Katie Fink. “Our home show is really tough for us and I think we really kicked butt and proved that we can still perform in the face of adversity.”
While many riders were given the chance to show, only certain riders were the “point riders,” meaning that their performances were the ones that counted towards the team’s overall score. Five of Cornell’s point riders won in a row to lead the squad to victory, Mitchell said in an email. Three more riders also qualified for regionals — junior Emily Webster, sophomore Alyx Cheng and Fink. In total, the Red is will send eight riders to regionals. While teams do not travel together to regionals, the squad’s regional championship title guarantees it the chance to send a team to zones, according to Kowalchik. Zones will take place at Skidmore this year — Cornell’s former regional rival.
While facing the Thoroughbreds will certainly pose a challenge, the Red is as ready as it will ever be, according to Mitchell, since strong team effort has been propelling the squad forward throughout the season.
“It’s amazing ... it’s a total team effort ... without one [rider] we’re not as strong,” he said of the squad’s ability to both host and win last Sunday’s show.
“We all worked together beautifully,” Fink agreed.
One of the most exciting developments of the home show was when senior Bronwyn Scrivens moved up in the prestigious Cacchione Cup competition. The winner of the Cacchione from each region will go on to compete in a special class at Nationals against the winners from all of the other regions. Scrivens is now tied for first alongside senior Kali Knickerbocker from Nazareth, according to Mitchell.
Some of the lower level riders were also given the opportunity to canter in a horse show for the very first time, according to Kowalchik. One of those riders was senior Amanda Fan. Fan joined the team last year with no previous riding experience. She entered the ring feeling nervous, she said, but was able to pull through and place second.
With only one show left, the Red is very close to completing an undefeated season. The final show will take place this Saturday in Alfred, N.Y.
“As much as we wanted to be undefeated before, it’s only gotten more intense now that we’re this close,” Kowalchik said.
The team is confident that it has the ability and the willpower to ride to it’s final victory.
“I think we can kick butt at Alfred,” Fink said.
“If they respond like they have responded in the past … I have no doubt that they will be undefeated,” Mitchell said.