March 13, 2013

EQUESTRIAN | Four Riders Prepare to Head to Zone Finals

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Four riders remain as the equestrian team prepares for Zone finals, on April 7 in Brookville, N.Y. Of the 13 riders that competed at regionals this past weekend, freshman Meridith Meyers, sophomores Georgiana de Rham and Madeliene Breen and junior Amanda Sevcik qualified for Zones. Meyers will compete in the open flat and fences divisions, de Rham will show in open fences, Breen is competing in novice flat and Sevcik will ride in novice fences. Regionals brings together the best riders in each division. However, only the top two riders in each division are able to advance to Zones. Last season, Cornell hosted the regional competition. This meant that the Cornell riders were able to compete on horses that were  familiar to them. Regionals were hosted by Alfred this year. The Red squad has competed at Alfred three times this season and were comfortable with the horses in the show. “11 out of 13 people drew horses that we know really well,” senior tri-captain Emily Kowalchik said. “I think it’s harder to be relaxed when you don’t know the horse, so that worked to our advantage.”Since only the top two riders in each division move on to Zones, it is important that the judge chooses the riders that will best represent the region, according to Kowalchik. In order to do this, the judge often subjects riders to additional testing during Regionals. “We had been basically studying horsemanship knowledge,” Kowalchick said. “And then in addition we were working without stirrups a lot and working on flat patterns like figure eights and simple changes of lead because any of those little extra things could be part of a test.”This kind of testing helps the judge determine who should be awarded the top two places and allows the riders to set themselves apart from the competition. “We like when the judge [tests] at regionals because [it gives] everybody the best chance possible to show that they really are the best representative of our region,” Kowalchik said. Post-season shows bring tougher competition and the ten to fifteen minutes in the show ring determines whether the season is over or if the rider will get another chance.“I really just wanted to go in and ride well and have fun … and not worry about how I do,” said Sevcik.Meyer also went into regionals determined. “I was kind of trying to go in without any expectations,” she said. “[I] just [wanted] to ride my best and see how it went,” she said.“I was actually super shocked [that I came in second] because I wasn’t all that happy with my ride,” Sevcik said. “And then they called my number and I kind of just stood there for a second. It’s pretty exciting.”The remaining riders have a lot to work on before the next competition. Meyer is focusing on being relaxed, while Sevcik is working on fine-tuning her position.“I’m trying to work on being relaxed, sometimes I get a little uptight [and] that usually hurts me a little bit,” Meyer said. “I am trying to get my endurance up because I’m kind of a little weak in my leg,” Sevcik said. Despite the fact that only four of the Red’s riders advanced to the next competition, most of the riders said they were pleased with their performances. “Everyone on the team was totally there for one another and very excited and supportive,” Meyer said. “The team attitude [was] really just so positive the whole day.”“[The team’s attitude] was actually really awesome,” Sevcik said. “I mean it was better than I was expecting it to be just because we ended the season on a less than positive note, but everybody rode really well which I think helped.”Last weekend’s regional competition was satisfying according to the Red.“People rode the best you can expect them to ride under that pressure situation, and that’s what you want to take away from regionals … that you feel like you prepared and were able to use that preparation in the correct way,” Kowalchik said.

Original Author: Ariel Cooper