February 22, 2008

Equestrian Faces Main Nemesis Skidmore

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The equestrian team travels to Saratoga Springs this weekend where it will ride against such upstate schools as Skidmore, Cobbleskill, Colgate, Hobart and Hart-wicks. The Red has twice come in second behind Skidmore this season — once at the Cornell Winter Show last weekend, and in a tournament at Skidmore last December. As its biggest competition for tomorrow, Skidmore holds a 37-point edge in season scoring over the Red.
“Skidmore is our biggest nemesis, and they’re traditionally the powerhouse in our region. We’re trying to change that,” said head coach Chris Mitchell. “They’re very well coached, they’re very well practiced and they’re very well prepared. They’re a tough team to beat, but they’re not impossible to beat and we’ve beaten them before.”[img_assist|nid=28078|title=Still in the saddle|desc=The Red are counting on clutch performances in the open and walk, trot and cantor events to earn them important points this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The team had Monday off from practice and was back in full force on Tuesday. Following its strong performance last weekend at home, the Red is confident and optimistic about this weekend’s competition.
Tri-captains junior Caroline Shulman, junior Dana Kendrick and senior Christine Garvey all rode well last Sunday, with Garvey, having performed well in a new division. Kendrick took first in open fences, which qualified her for Regionals, and Schulman took second in the same event. All three are expected to play crucial roles in earning points for the team tomorrow.
A number of other riders are expected to show strong performances for the Red this weekend. Sophomores Ji-Min Kim and Kim Pettit, who ride in the walk and trot events, both had big wins last Sunday and hope to continue that success at Saratoga Springs.
“Their confidence has definitely gone up,” Mitchell said.
Freshman novice rider Rachel Klion and freshman intermediate rider Georgina Melbye have also already shown great potential on the team, contributing key points.
The Red has been particularly strong in the open and walk, trot and cantor events this season, all of which have will be tightly contested this weekend. Although strong in the intermediate and novice events as well, the team is hoping to get stronger and improve in both areas.
“We’re trying to get more consistency there, we’re trying to get some people moved around a little bit and find the right fit for everyone,” Mitchell said.
With only two shows left before the Regionals, the Red is hoping that momentum from recent strong performances will continue.
“Everybody’s confidence is up, and we’re just hoping we can just continue to roll,” Mitchell said.