Although the Red may not have made it to nationals this year, there is still one final show left for the team this season. The Ivy Show is an extra invitational held annually for the eight Ivy League universities. The stand-alone competition has no bearing on the squad’s overall season, so it allows the riders to compete together one last time in a more fun, less pressure-filled environment.
“This is basically just one last time for us to compete as a team this year,” said junior co-captain Emily Kowalchik. “We’re not trying to qualify for anything anymore; this is just a time to enjoy showing as a team.” “It’ll be a nice end of the year, end of the season send-off,” said senior co-captain Katie Fink.
Cornell is typically a strong competitor at Ivies. The Red has placed second in the show for the past two years behind Dartmouth and Brown, according to Kowalchik. When it comes to horseback riding, the Green and the Bears are the squad’s toughest competitors in the Ivy League. Currently, Cornell and Brown are tied for the most Ivy wins.
“I’m always excited for Ivies because we’ve won it six times now and if we win it this year we’ll have won it the most out of everyone,” said head coach Chris Mitchell.
The Red is determined to beat the Bears and bring the Ivy Cup back to Ithaca, but the competition will be stiff. Unlike Cornell, Brown will be moving on to nationals as a team this year, according to Mitchell.
“I think we’re all pretty evenly matched … I think Cornell and Brown are a little bit [stronger] than Dartmouth this year,” he said.
The members of the Ivy League take turns hosting this exclusive competition. Last year, the Ivy Show took place at Cornell’s Oxley Equestrian Center. This year, the competition is being hosted by Yale and Columbia at a private facility in Bethany, Connecticut, according to Mitchell. While Yale rides at the facility regularly, most of the riders who will be competing on Sunday are not familiar with it.
“It’s kind of neat to go to a place that’s almost that neutral,” Mitchell said.
Another unique feature of the Ivy Show is that the squad is able to bring more riders than it can bring to a regular season horse show.
“The majority of the team that’s been showing all year is showing at Ivies,” Kowalchik said.
For most of the seniors, the Ivy Show will be their last one with Cornell. Only Bronwyn Scrivens, who qualified for nationals, will have the opportunity to show again this season as a senior. For senior Melissa Kenny, the Ivy Show has been a significant part of her career with the Red. It was the first show she was able to compete in as a freshman, as well as the first she competed in over fences.
“It’s been kind of the ‘show of firsts’ for me,” she said.
Kenny has also had the opportunity to ride at Ivies every year.
“It’s been a really cool opportunity to be able to go to all the Ivies,” she said.
Additionally, the Ivy Show is a unique opportunity since only the eight members of the Ivy League are able to participate.
“It’s another show that we get to do that 99% of the teams in the IHSA don’t get to have so it’s definitely a cool opportunity,” Kowalchik said.
Senior Caroline Rusk will also be competing with the Red for the last time at Ivies. She recently qualified to move into the open division and will be competing in open fences for the first time. Rusk was also named an MVP at the team’s end-of-year banquet.
“I’m a little nervous because … the bar will be raised a little bit [and] the level of competition will be higher,” she said.
According to Kenny, even though the last show will be tough for the seniors, they are still looking forward to Sunday’s competition.
“I hope to do really well,” she said. “It’s my last show and after having been on the team for four years it’s kind of bittersweet because I’m really excited to be able to show and be able to compete but it’s also going to be my last show.”
The show will be a good way to round off the season.
“It’s a really nice way to bring everyone together … It almost feels like a showcase in some ways because we’re kind of showing how far each of us has come,” Rusk said.
Coming off of a successful regular season, the team is confident in its ability to perform well at the Ivy Show.
“We had a very solid season this year so I think that will be reflected in our turnout at Ivies,” Fink said.
The squad hopes that its hard work all season long will come together at the competition.
“We’re definitely as prepared as we’re going to be because we had stepped up the practices for regionals and zones,” Kowalchik said.
“I expect my girls to give me everything they’ve got as they’ve been doing all year,” said Mitchell.