Year after year, the Cornell equestrian team has one simple goal in mind as it enters the season.
“The number one goal that we have right now is to beat Skidmore and be the regional champions,” said head coach Chris Mitchell.
Though this goal has often been elusive for the Red, the team has a renewed sense of excitement this season as it seeks to outlast its biggest rival over the course of the year-long slate of horse shows. The team feels that there’s something different this year, a feeling of confidence that the Red expects will translate into results.
“We have to ride extremely well, but rider for rider, we’re just as good as they are,” Mitchell said. “We have to get mentally tougher. We’re just going to keep plugging along and try to get this team mentally stronger for that horse show. It’s the mental game that we are improving on but we have to keep doing it.”
Talent wise, Cornell is in excellent position. The team is led by a very solid lineup of equestriennes, filled with a strong combination of youth and experience.
The team is led by senior captains Erica Rosen and Gillian Pech, both of whom have extensive experience in competitive equestrian.
“Right now we have two riders who are among the top riders in the region, Erica Rosen and Samara Ringer, they’re number one and two in the region right now,” Mitchell said.
Beyond the top performers, Cornell boasts a deep team that boasts strong performers in virtually every class.
“Lindsay Boutote is another senior that we’re looking to do well in the Intermediate flat and Intermediate fences,” Mitchell said. “We’re looking forward to Megan Gates continuing her role, she’s been great on the flat and wonderful on the fences when she’s had the opportunity to compete over fences. Sammy Horowitz is a freshman, we’re looking for good things from that young lady. Elizabeth Kozaklewicz is coming in off the bench to start for us this year. Shannon Michaels has been another one who’s been on the way up, she’ll be strong this year. Caitlin O’Shea is going to be strong this year.”
Though the team currently trails Skidmore by 13 points in the regional standings, it is confident that it will not remain behind for long.
“Everybody is riding very well and pushing all the other riders to get a shot,” Mitchell said.
Aside from Skidmore, the Red will face stiff challenges from regional foes such as Ithaca College, Morrisville, Binghamton, and Hartwick. While all of these squads have talented lineups in their own right, the Red will also rely on them to help it overcome Skidmore this season.
“We need a little help from our friends,” Mitchell said, “in the classes that we might not have anyone entered.”
Mitchell views the Skidmore show at the start of the spring semester as an important opportunity for the Red to measure how it is doing.
“It’s always a tough horse show for us,” he said.
Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor