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Digital-Only IHSA Championship Special Issue The Official Magazine of the United States Hunter Jumper Association

Makayla Benjamin Jumps to Cacchione Cup Title

Skidmore College Thoroughbreds Claim Collegiate Cup Victory

MAY 2018

May 2018 Digital-Only Special Issue

Table of Contents

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Letter to Members

USHJA President Mary Babick explains teamwork and leadership as a vital part of collegiate riding.


Skidmore Thoroughbreds Gallop Away with the Collegiate Cup



Complete coverage of the 2018 IHSA Championships


The IHSA Experience in Photos Scenes from the back gate to the show ring


The Road to the Nationals

Hadley Benneyan and Abigail Carpenter describe their journeys as they vie for a national championship.


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IHSA Championship Special Issue

IHSA Nationals— Through a Student’s Lens Lisa Giris captures the IHSA through her photography.

Published bimonthly by the United States Hunter Jumper Association and produced by Equine Network. ©Copyright 2018 by the United States Hunter Jumper Association. All rights reserved.

USHJA Officers

Mary Babick

Dianne Johnson

Shelley Campf

Direct: (732) 239-1235 mbabick13@gmail.com

Direct: (425) 823-2802 dianjnsn@aol.com

Direct: (503) 704-7985 ozinc@yahoo.com

David Distler

Charlotte Skinner-Robson

Direct: (203)803-0844 daviddistler@msn.com

Direct: (818) 563-3250 ceskinner@earthlink.net

Vice President, Hunter


Vice President

USHJA Staff Executive

Kevin Price Executive Director Direct: (859) 225-6701 kprice@ushja.org Leslie K. Mangan Executive Operations Manager Direct: (859) 225-6704 lkmangan@ushja.org Steve Rosenberg Executive Office Coordinator Direct: (859) 225-6721 srosenberg@ushja.org

Education & Wheeler Museum Whitney Barnard Special Projects Manager Direct: (859) 225-6728 wbarnard@ushja.org Sarah Hartmann Education Programs Assistant Direct: (859)225-6733 shartmann@ushja.org


Lisa Moss Chief Financial Officer Direct: (859) 225-6712 lmoss@ushja.org Georgia Holbrook Accounting Manager Direct: (859) 225-6711 gholbrook@ushja.org Heather Sinclair Assistant Director Direct: (859) 225-6727 hsinclair@ushja.org

Hunter & Jumper Programs

Katie Patrick Director of Sports Programs Direct: (859) 225-6725 kpatrick@ushja.org Erin Keating Managing Director of Sports Programs Direct: (859) 225-6717 ekeating@ushja.org Hunter Shelly Nelson Assistant Managing Director of Hunter Program Direct: (859) 225-6722 snelson@ushja.org April Hammond Assistant Managing Director of Zones and Affiliates Direct: (859) 225-6702 ahammond@ushja.org Danae Fryman Sport Programs Assistant Direct: (859) 225-6734 dfryman@ushja.org Jumper Jennifer Osterman Assistant Managing Director of Jumper Programs Direct: (859) 225-6703 josterman@ushja.org Emily Matuszak Sport Programs Assistant Direct: (859)225-6729 ematuszak@ushja.org Heidi Kurpaska Sport Program Assistant Direct: (859)225-6735 hkurpaska@ushja.org


Larry Langer

Vice President, Jumper



Louise Taylor Program Promotions & Communications Manager Direct: (859) 225-6706 ltaylor@ushja.org Kristin Rover Regional Communications Manager Direct: (859) 225-6726 krover@ushja.org In Stride Tricia Booker Editor Direct: (703) 431-7103 tbooker@ushja.org Sponsorship & Advertising Whitney Allen Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6707 wallen@ushja.org Jill Insko Sponsor Relations & Fulfillment Manager Direct: (859) 225-6716 jinsko@ushja.org

Direct: (818) 563-3250 larlanger@gmail.com

Jamie Martinez Membership and Office Manager Direct: (859) 225-6709 jmartinez@ushja.org

Sport & Association Services Art Department Suzanne Dorman Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6715 sdorman@ushja.org Joshua Mims Digital Designer Direct: (859) 225-6718 jmims@ushja.org Rachel Sowinski Graphic Designer Direct: (859) 225-6720 rsowinski@ushja.org Awards & Merchandise Marla Holt Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6710 mholt@ushja.org Emma Nichols Awards Coordinator Direct: (859) 225-6708 enichols@ushja.org Communications Megan Lacy Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6723 mlacy@ushja.org

USHJA Foundation

Kate Cattani Foundation Coordinator Direct: (732) 979-7262 kcattani@ushja.org

Member Benefits • Affiliate Awards Program • Amateur Sportsmanship Award • Breeders and Stallion Owners Directory • Discounted Subscriptions to Equine Network Publications • Educational Clinics • Emerging Athletes Program • Opportunity to Serve on a Committee or Task Force

• Outreach Competitions • Owners Resource Guide • Participation in Rule Change Process • Stirrup Cup Awards • Trainer Certification Program • Trainers Directory • USHJA E-News • USHJA In Stride Magazine • Zone Horse of the Year Awards

USHJA Mission: The United States Hunter Jumper Association, as the official Hunter/Jumper affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation, is a competition-based sport organization that serves our members through educational programs, awards and recognition, communication and rules. We provide a wide array of programs for all Hunter/Jumper levels, and we are mindful of the well-being of our equine partners. Additionally, we are committed to preserving the history of our sport and through our Foundation we support charitable and benevolent services.

The United States Hunter Jumper Association • 3870 Cigar Lane • Lexington, KY 40511 • Phone: (859) 225-6700 • Fax: (859) 258-9033 • www.ushja.org President & CEO ANDREW W. CLURMAN Senior Vice President, CFO & Treasurer MICHAEL HENRY Chief Innovation Officer JONATHAN DORN Vice President of Audience Development TOM MASTERSON

Senior Vice President of Business Development & Equine TOM WINSOR Vice President, Equine Group DAVID ANDRICK English Group Publisher PAT TROWBRIDGE Associate Publisher/Advertising Sales MICHELLE ADAWAY (859) 619-8263, madaway@aimmedia.com

IHSA Championship Special Issue

Senior Editor LAUREL SCOTT Art Director TRISHA MILLER Production Manager DIANE PAOLINI Group Production Director BARBARA VAN SICKLE AIM Board Chair EFREM ZIMBALIST III



Letter to Members

Lessons Learned From the IHSA Dear USHJA Members,

Have you ever noticed how much teamwork goes into our riding? We have some “micro” teams composed of our horses, trainers, coaches, veterinarians and farriers. Those teams help us to set and achieve our goals. But, for the most part, we don’t have the “macro” experience of a true team sport. The synergy can make the combined efforts of that team greater than the individuals who participate. A great team is a magical experience. Our sport is slowly realizing the importance of teams. We have teams at the pinnacle of our sport at the Olympic Games, and we’re developing more team experiences through the USHJA Zone Jumper Championships and the USHJA Children’s and Adult Amateur Hunter Championships. Riding on a team is a game changer. All at once, you realize the importance of the larger picture. It’s no longer you, your horse and your support structure. Now, you have team strategy and a built-in cheering squad. It helps us realize the importance of “one for all, and all for one.” I believe that the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association has given us a window into the importance of teamwork in our sport. For more than 50 years, the IHSA has given collegiate riders the opportunity to combine riding and teamwork at college. The teams work together to vault themselves to the next level. A Walk-Trot rider is as important as an Open rider. They all strategize and support each other for the greater glory of the team, and that’s an experience that they take forward into their careers. In my opinion, good teamwork has another positive: It creates leaders. Whether in life or riding, each team must have a leader. At the collegiate level, riders practice their leadership skills as team captains. It’s a positive experience that most likely has an effect on each person as he or she leaves college and enters the workforce. The IHSA has more than 400 member colleges and universities, with tens of thousands of riders who have competed throughout the 51 years of the association’s existence. Think about that. There are a large number of people from many walks of life who are spreading the ethos of camaraderie, spirit, teamwork and leadership. Success stories abound in this environment.


USHJA President Mary Babick, center, with Adam Edgar of the Savannah College of Art and Design, winner of the Collegiate Cup Open Flat

Two such stories that connect the IHSA to the Olympic Games are those of Beezie Madden and Peter Wylde. Both athletes rode on IHSA teams. Beezie rode for Southern Seminary College in Virginia and was the Cacchione Cup winner in 1984, and Peter rode for Tufts University in Massachusetts and was the Cacchione Cup winner in 1986. Both riders went on to major success. Beezie has won multiple medals at the Olympic Games, both team and individual, and most recently won the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in April. Peter was a team gold medalist at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. In fact, Beezie and Peter shared that victory along with Chris Kappler and McLain Ward. In addition to their riding successes, both individuals have taken their team spirit and leadership abilities forward in the form of giving back to our industry. Beezie gives countless hours to governance and also has served as a clinician for the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session. She provides inspiration to our up-andcoming athletes. Peter was the lead clinician for the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program for nine years, and through his mentorship, many athletes have been given a leg up in the sport. Is it a coincidence that the teamwork of the IHSA continues on? I don’t think so. Team spirit, team work and leadership are a vital part of collegiate riding. The USHJA is proud to have the IHSA as a partner and a teammate. And teamwork is the only way that teams really work. Congratulations to all of the IHSA riders!

“The USHJA is proud to have the IHSA as a partner and a teammate.”



IHSA Championship Special Issue

Mary Babick USHJA President


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IHSA Championship Special Issue

Skidmore Thoroughbreds Gallop Away with the Collegiate Cup Makayla Benjamin adds another chapter to her family’s rich IHSA story. Story and photos by Tricia Booker Usually, it’s not difficult to identify the coaches whose teams are in contention for the IHSA Collegiate Cup Championship on the final day of competition. They’re the ones standing at the rail, fingernails dug into the railing and focusing intently on their riders in the Open Flat, the last class in which to accrue points. This year was different, however. Yes, Coach Cindy Ford of Skidmore College stood railside, but her beaming smile and relaxed demeanor told the story. Her team had leapt from the gate to an early firstday lead and went wire-to-wire, galloping down the homestretch on Saturday afternoon for the victory. “I think we knew right from the very beginning we had a strong, strong team,” she said. “I felt we had a strong team in every single division.” But as IHSA veterans know, in this format—where the luck of the draw comes into play and catch rides can catch a rider off guard—anything can happen during Nationals. This year’s 51st edition was held May 3-5 at the Farm Show Complex in



Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “We’re very cautiously optimistic,” said Ford on Day 2, when her team’s lead widened after Walk-Trot-Canter rider Alison Santucci took the top call and added 7 more points. “We’re not the clear winner yet. Yesterday we had a great day, but it was Day 1. We have to get through this day and tomorrow. But this team has worked so hard, with hours of riding and just doing things such as riding without stirrups and on weekends.” Those long hours and dedication continued to pay off on the final day. Even with a late rally by defending champions Savannah College of Art and Design, the Skidmore team held the field at bay, taking the victory with 30 points over SCAD (with 28) and Stanford University (22). “I came here with a team that I felt was a complete team,” said Ford, whose Skidmore team has now achieved its eighth Collegiate Cup title and its first since 2013. “But I’ve come here before with complete teams and it didn’t happen. Of course, you always worry about the lowerIHSA Championship Special Issue

level riders being able to manage the ring with all of those horses. “But this year, I think we got some really exceptional draws, and everyone was physically and mentally prepared,” she added. “I love working with these students who come to Skidmore bright and dedicated and hard working. It makes it fun. Sometimes you come here, and you have all that, but things don’t click. Everything clicked this time, and I’m really pleased.”

Out of the Gate Skidmore started out strongly when Sheriden Beard, 20, a sophomore from Simsbury, Connecticut, won the Team Novice Equitation Over Fences on Thursday. Beard competed last year in this class and placed sixth, so this time, the blue ribbon was particularly special—especially because she put Skidmore on top in the team standings. She also returned later to claim sixth place in the Novice Equitation on the Flat for an additional team point. continued

IHSA Championship Special Issue

Makayla Benjamin and Collins May 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE 7

IHSA Championship continued

Above: Skidmore College won its eighth Collegiate Cup title, with (at right) coaches Belinda Colgan, left, and Cindy Ford at the helm.

“It was pressure, but at the same time, it wasn’t—because I know I can count on my team. But I did pull through for this,” she said, smiling. Beard drew Mount Holyoke’s Giovanni, a horse she admired, but she went into the ring knowing she needed to produce a confident ride on him. “He was just a dream. He had stopped in the class before, but they just said to be a rider. I just had to go in there and have confidence and trust myself and just relax,” she said. “For the work-off, I knew the St. Lawrence rider, and she’s a great rider. I knew I had to be on it. I don’t know what it came down to, because she was great, too.” Beard rode all through high school at the Ethel Walker School, along with teammate and Open rider Hannah Tuckner. “I never had my own horse there, so I did IEA and some local horse shows,” she said. “Looking at colleges, I chose Skidmore for the riding team, and I knew Cindy and what she does, and it’s a great school. I’m majoring in health and human physiological sciences and hoping to become a physical therapist.” Maeve Foley, 19, continued the Skidmore streak with the top call in the Team Intermediate Equitation on the Flat. Foley, from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, is a junior majoring in business with an economics minor. This was her second



appearance at the IHSA Nationals, and she drew St. Lawrence University’s Roxy, a tall bay mare with a comfortable trot. “Roxy was perfect; she was nice and forward off my leg, and listening very well,” said Foley. “[The second direction] without stirrups was challenging, but we work on that a lot at home. I felt strong going into it.” Assistant Coach Belinda Colgan believed that Foley’s work without stirrups clinched the class. “For me, her posting trot without stirrups was it,” said Colgan. “Watching her ride to that point and after, she was very good—but that’s where she won it. She works very hard to be as strong as she can and rides as many horses as she can when she comes out to the barn. “She has a lot of drive with her riding as well as academics, so it’s great. She’s a good team worker. And a special thanks to St. Lawrence for Roxy. She really showed her off, and I’m not sure Maeve would have won without her, despite all of the hard work.” Santucci, 20, from Northville, Michigan, earned Skidmore’s third blue ribbon and 7 more points in the Team WalkTrot-Canter class. The junior at Skidmore, who is studying neuroscience, started riding English at age 13 and arrived at Skidmore needing a bit of polish. IHSA Championship Special Issue

“As a freshman, I didn’t really have the basics; I honestly didn’t know how to canter,” she said, smiling. “So every practice was a bit of a mess. And then things started to come together my sophomore year, and then I rode for the team last year, and here I am now.” Santucci said that the difference between last year and this year is that everything started to click. “I figured out how to bend a horse and how to ride instead of sitting there looking pretty,” she said. “So it was a lot of things falling into place all at once, practicing and practicing.” Coach Ford beamed with pride as Santucci spoke. “She has really wanted to be a rider. She’s a beautiful rider, and she really underestimates her riding,” noted Ford. “She’s had this whole team of instructors that have been on her side the whole time, and she’s worked three times as hard as we have. She’s not only a wonderful rider,

but she’s also a great student academically and a great person. We’re thrilled and so proud of her and the way she’s progressed.” Colgan was especially proud of how Santucci handled herself in a crowded ring of 16 horses. “There were some moments when she was very stuck and crowded, and in a situation that could have been catastrophic—and she took her time and was thoughtful in how she was going to proceed, and it worked out to her advantage,” she said. Going into the third day. with the Open riders concluding the competition, Skidmore held a commanding lead; however, there were still two classes remaining.

“I came here with a team that I felt was a complete team.” —CINDY FORD

SCAD Rallies The three-time defending Collegiate Cup champions, Savannah College of Art and Design, still had a window of opportunity for the title entering the final day if their Open rider won both classes. So the pressure was on the shoulders of

that rider—freshman Adam Edgar. Edgar, who turned 19 the Tuesday after the Nationals, took it all in stride but fell just short. He claimed victory in the Open Flat and was second in the Open Over Fences but secured the reserve championship for SCAD. “I drew Cazenovia College’s Collins, and he was by far one of the most comfortable horses I’ve ever ridden,” said Edgar of his Flat partner. “As soon as I did the sitting trot, I went, ‘Whoa, this is nice.’ And then I picked up the canter, and I was like, ‘WHOA, this is really nice.’ And I couldn’t have asked for him to go any better. He was just great.” Over fences, Edgar was called in on continued

Ford Keeps Motoring Cindy Ford has been coaching Skidmore’s Equestrian team for 30 years and described this year’s winning team as a committed group of dedicated and talented riders. In addition to the three winning riders, Skidmore’s strong contingent included Hannah Tuckner (Open Flat), Mara Chemerinsky (Intermediate Over Fences) and Julia Berger-Bailey (Walk-Trot). “She’s a very seasoned rider and has a nice look and is a great sport,” said Ford of Tuckner, who also placed third in the USEF/Cacchione Cup. “She’s one that has been working so hard. Hannah and Sheriden both came from the Ethel Walker School. They knew each other and rode with Hillary Rheinheimer, and she’s so good with the basics. I’m so fortunate to have gotten these two beautiful riders from her, and it’s just such a fit to come to Skidmore.” In the Intermediate Over Fences class, Skidmore earned 5 more points with Chemerinsky’s second-placed finish. “She’s a tiny girl with a great eye, and she can ride the toughest horses or the sweetest horses,” said Ford. “I sometimes feel she’s almost best if she’s never ridden the horse before with no preconceived notions. She gets on and rides what she has and is so strong for such a little girl. “Julia came to us as a total beginner,” said Ford with a laugh. “From the beginning, she could always ride the horses. She would get a horse to go forward by shortening her leg and kind of using her seat, so it’s been so much hard work on our part and for her. She’s been riding every single day and riding in a practice saddle to get everything down and long. “And she’s been riding without stirrups, and finally she has her upper body and leg where they belong. But with her, it’s plain hard work. At home she’s very serious, but she got here

and opened up. She learned how to clean a stall! She went out into the ring and wasn’t nervous and rode her horse beautifully. She was fourth!” Ford also credited her entire support team at Skidmore for making it all a true team effort. “I’m so fortunate. I have Belinda Colgan and Karen Hurff. Belinda’s my assistant coach and Karen is one of our instructors. And Karen in particular does a great job finishing them off on the flat. She has that dressage background, teaches them to get a horse round in a classical way and not an artificial way. She teaches them that feel and gives them that seat and leg. “So I have this advantage that I have those two, who do an amazing job and support everything we do,” she continued. “It’s just such a team of instructors. I’m not just a single coach who’s coaching these riders. There’s a group of us, including Amanda Wadsworth, and the four of us talk to each other. There are no egos. Amanda had to stay home because we couldn’t all come. But it’s a team effort with the instructors as well as the students.” Ford has coached the Saratoga Springs, New York-based college to the Collegiate Cup win seven times as a coach, with many other top-four team placings. “It’s been a really good run. So it’s been ’90, ’91, ’95, ’96, ’99, 2010, ’13 and now,” she noted. “Skidmore backs us up. Our athletic director has been calling, and the school’s president dropped me a note earlier. We’re a varsity team and well respected within the college, and a major part of Skidmore. We’re proud to be there and delighted to win the Collegiate Cup for Skidmore once again.”

IHSA Championship Special Issue



IHSA Championship continued

top to test, but a brilliant effort by Boston University’s Michael Janson moved him up for the blue ribbon. Nevertheless, it was an impressive effort on Edgar’s part, and SCAD Coach Ashley Henry was thrilled. Edgar arrived at SCAD after a successful Junior career with trainers Bill Schaub and Ken and Emily Smith. “Adam is a beautiful Hunter rider and a natural rider,” said Henry, adding that their focus was not to overdo the equitation training and allow Edgar’s true ability shine through. Edgar, of Leesburg, Virginia, started riding when he was in elementary school and then took a working student position with Schaub at Over The Hill Farm during his high school years. Henry noticed Edgar while watching a video of a horse on Facebook and wondered who he was. After some research, she messaged him and invited him to SCAD. “At first I was like, ‘I don’t want to go to art school.’ And I went and visited and saw the barn and thought, ‘I can’t go anywhere else,’” said Edgar. “I’ve been doing the IHSA, and it’s been a whirlwind but super fun. Coming to SCAD was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I’m super thankful for everyone who has put continued

Centenary University’s Michael Andrade won the Individual Open Fences class, above, and freshman Adam Edgar, of Savannah College of Art and Design, helped his team clinch second place with victory in the Team Open Flat and second in the Team Open Fences.

The Best and Favorite Horses

Cazenovia College’s Collins, a 16.3-hand bay gelding, earned the Triple Crown High-Point Hunt Seat Horse Award. Skidmore College’s Clay, a 16.3-hand dark bay gelding, received the SmartPak Most Popular Hunt Seat Horse Award. 10


IHSA Championship Special Issue

2018 IHSA Hunt Seat Equitation Champions Walk-Trot

Novice Fences

Open Flat

Team—Jillian Rogers, Stanford University (California)

Team—Sheriden Beard, Skidmore College (New York)

Team—Adam Edgar, Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia)

Individual—Alessandro Lorenzoni, Wesleyan University (Connecticut)

Individual—Marcus Livermore, Morrisville State College (New York)

Individual—Caroline Molther, University of Kentucky


Intermediate Flat

Open Fences

Team—Alison Santucci, Skidmore College (New York)

Team—Maeve Foley, Skidmore College (New York)

Team—Michael Janson, Boston University (Massachusetts)

Individual—Carol Hayes, University of Florida

Individual—Emily Wilmot, Delaware Valley University (Pennsylvania)

Individual—Michael Andrade, Centenary University (New Jersey)

Novice Flat

Intermediate Fences

Alumni Flat

Team—Brady Martino, Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia)

Team—Sara Hearn, Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts)

Individual—Stephanie Zimicki, Alfred University (New York)

Individual—Molly Murtha, University of Central Florida

Individual—Jennifer DePietro, Johnson & Wales University (Rhode Island)

Alumni Fences Individual—Chelsea Koerper, Delaware Valley University (Pennsylvania)

USEF/Cacchione Cup Top 10

Makayla Benjamin, Sweet Briar College (Virginia) Mollie Kowalchik, Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts) Hannah Tuckner, Skidmore College (New York) Elizabeth Traban, Penn State University (Pennsylvania) Sarah Gordon, Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia)

Skylar Laakso, Centenary University (New Jersey) Halle Kutsche, Kansas State University (Kansas) Cary Hundley, Goucher College (Maryland) Melanie Lathrop, Colorado State University (Colorado) Alicia Weismann, Rider University (New Jersey) May 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


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Above: Three-time defending Collegiate Cup champions Savannah College of Art and Design earned the reserve championship, above. At right: Cacchione Cup winner Makayla Benjamin celebrated with, from left, parents Andy and Jan Benjamin, Purdue Coach Jerry Steinmetz and Bob Cacchione.

effort into this and made it possible—my coaches, our personal trainer at home, yoga instructor. Every last ounce of work really counts and leads into this. I’m so thankful and so lucky.” Henry said she had a younger team this year compared to years past, which was a new and different challenge but one she enjoys. “It was really exciting to get Adam to come to SCAD and get him on the team this year,” she said. “A lot of people coming into this day know the amount of pressure, so we don’t talk about it. But Adam said, ‘Tell me. I ride well under pressure.’ So, that was nice to have. You have an upper level rider, and you can tell him, ‘OK, everything’s on your shoulders, and we need you to win both classes.’ “And it was really close. I couldn’t have asked for a better ride. To come back in the work-off on top and then winning that Flat was beyond exciting for us as a team. So I’m very proud of him and to see what this little ‘Bee’ grows into.”



Conceiving a Cacchione Victory Many riders who participate in the IHSA program grow to consider their fellow riders and coaches a part of their family. But for Makayla Benjamin, that concept goes one step further—her parents, Jan and Andy Benjamin, met while they were on Purdue University’s IHSA team, and the rest, as they say, is family history. Benjamin added to her parents’ IHSA story by taking home the Cacchione Cup during her senior year at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Although she’d ridden on the school’s IHSA team throughout college, this was the first year she’d qualified for Nationals. Of course, both of her parents went to cheer her on and reunite with their IHSA Championship Special Issue

former coach, Jerry Steinmetz. “My mom was a freshman on the team, and my dad was a senior, and they did Western and English,” she said. “They never made it to Nationals, which I didn’t find out until I was here. I met Jerry for the first time here, but we had talked about him, and I knew him from Facebook. Jerry is a good friend to know and show you the ropes at Nationals. “It was really fun to come here and see how the sport has progressed,” Benjamin added. “My parents are on the IHSA Memory Wall (of photographs) as well, and it was fun to say, ‘Wow! That’s you guys on the team back in the day!’” Benjamin drew Cazenovia’s Sun Bear for the over-fences phase of the Cacchione Cup

Theresa L. McDonald 2018 Scholarship Challenge Winners

and placed third with a score of 83. A 79 on the flat aboard Gunnar dropped her to eighth, but judges Diane Carney and Tony Sgarlata chose to test the top 10 the following day, as just 11 points separated the group. “So I was really happy to come back and test,” said Benjamin. “Then I was even happier when it was over fences because I was like, ‘I can do this! Over fences is my strong suit.’” The testing phase was run in reverse order, so Benjamin returned third aboard another Cazenovia horse named Collins. The course of 10 fences, which included two trot jumps, offered riders the opportunity to make some different decisions regarding striding as well as turns. “I was unsure of the turn after fence 7. People had been going left, but the right turn seemed like it would flow more, but it’s a handier turn to get to the trot fence,” she explained of her strategy. “So that was a game-time decision once I found out what horse I’d drawn to know how he schooled and if he’d be OK with that blind turn, really. And the coach with Cazenovia was very generous and was like, ‘Oh, yes, he’s game for it all.’ Just keep your leg on and you’ll be fine, so that’s what I did.” Benjamin had planned to jump the first bending line in seven strides, but continued

Other Awards

IHSA National Sportsmanship Awards Coach—Michael Dowling, Centenary University Student—Skylar Laakso, Centenary University Volunteer—Rebecca Jacobsen

Megan Taylor received the 2018 IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award. Taylor has been around the IHSA for nearly her entire life and was the director of riding and head coach of the Sewanee Equestrian Program (Tennessee) for more than 16 years. She served as an IHSA regional president for more than 14 years and became the national director of the IHSA Alumni Association in 2014. She is currently the Alumni Director-at-Large. Brianne Lenehan of Clemson University (South Carolina) won the Theresa L. McDonald 2018 Scholarship Challenge, sponsored by EQUUS Magazine. IHSA Championship Special Issue



IHSA Championship continued

Left, Boston University’s Michael Janson performed a workoff that impressed judges Diane Carney and Tony Sgarlata for top call in the Team Open Fences. Above: Alison Santucci won the Team Walk-Trot-Canter class to help Skidmore claim the Collegiate Cup.

it came up as eight. She was especially pleased with her first trot jump but then expressed concern about fence 7, the option where riders could choose a tight rollback left or a smooth right-hand turn to the trot fence at 8. “After my test, I was skeptical,” she admitted. “I thought, ‘I hope they don’t penalize me for that eight strides because it was right out of the rhythm.’ Then he was a little sticky off the ground at fence 7, and I was like, ‘I don’t know how sticky that was because it was away from the judges, but I don’t know how they’ll treat that.’ I felt I definitely stayed in eighth. Then, as I was watching everyone else go around, I thought I’d handled the course pretty well. It posed a lot of questions, and I answered most of them right. I was shocked I was top three, let alone the winner.” Judges Carney and Sgarlata posted the Cacchione work-off course the day before the testing phase so riders could study it and allowed them to draw their horses rather than assign specific mounts. They were both highly impressed with Benjamin’s ride.



“The girl who ended up winning came back early, and she rode the test beautifully,” said Carney. “She has a good position and has good horse IQ. She had a great plan, too. She did what she could for herself coming back early as she did, since they returned low scores to high. The other riders had to either step up and do the same or, as it showed, it didn’t happen. There was one rider who was close, and she rode well. We scored the work-off

“What a vision they had 51 years ago for the IHSA. It’s a terrific program, and I can’t say enough good about it.” —JUDGE TONY SGARLATA

IHSA Championship Special Issue

separately and let the math decide the winner. It was that simple.” Benjamin, 21, from Leesburg, Virginia, is graduating with a degree in mathematical economics with a double minor in business and engineering. She had a background in Equitation as a junior, participated in the USHJA Emerging Athletes Program and competed on the Sweet Briar IHSA team for four years. “We changed Regions this year, and I think that really helped,” she said. “And I had some experience going to Zones, so I was more familiar with how everything worked. It was my first year going to Zones for the Cacchione Cup, though, so I wasn’t quite sure how that worked. But I went in to ride the horse I had every time and was lucky enough that it was good.” After graduation, Benjamin will travel to Wyoming for the summer where she’ll work at the Bitter Root Ranch as a wrangler. “I’m going to have fun out there for 4½ months and then start my corporate job in February of next year at Ferguson, so I’ll do sales and logistics for their corporate side. I’ll do their sales trainee pro-

Clockwise from top: A rider enters the arena; Team Novice Flat winner Brady Martino of Savannah College of Art and Design; Individual Novice Flat winner Molly Murtha of the University of Central Florida; Individual Walk-Trot-Canter winner Carol Hayes of the University of Florida

gram for a year and see where it goes.” Sgarlata, who has frequently judged IHSA shows but not the Nationals, said they were really looking for smoothness all week. “She had a terrific plan and stuck with it. She was very smooth,” he said of Benjamin. “So many of them were close in that class. Overall, those top 10 were in a span of maybe 11 points. It could have been anyone’s class.” Carney, also judging the IHSA Na-

tionals for the first time, said she and Sgarlata were looking on the same page while judging. “Our horsemanship is so similar, and we were looking for smooth and straight. It sounds so basic,” said Carney. “On these horses we’re looking for a good plan and a good position. And the courses were great all week. The gentleman who did the courses (Tom Hern, Jr.) did a fabulous job. “We were in the spirit of each level for IHSA Championship Special Issue

each class,” she continued. “We tried to give them a little bit to do in each test, and they seemed to like the tests. I’ve judged a couple of IHSA shows, and I’m honored to be here at the championship, and it’s always a pleasure to judge with Tony.” Sgarlata concurred. “What a vision they had 51 years ago for the IHSA. It’s a terrific program, and I can’t say enough good about it. This has been a wonderful experience.” May 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


The IHSA Experience in Photos The IHSA Nationals wouldn’t be possible without those who generously donate the horses, many wonderful volunteers and the dedicated riders, coaches and parents. Please enjoy these scenes from the back gate to the show ring.

Photos by Tricia Booker



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The Road to the


adley Benneyan, of the winning Skidmore College team, and Abigail Carpenter, on the Randolph College team, describe their journeys to the culminating show of the season at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. With more than 10,000 riders and 400 colleges and universities in the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association, securing a place at IHSA National Championship isn’t a walk in the park. One individual rider and one team rider share their stories of hard work, dedication, dreams and bumps in the road as they vie for a national championship.



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Success Together Is Delicious By Hadley Benneyan


Hadley Benneyan drew James as her mount for the IHSA Nationals Individual Open Over Fences class; inset, Hadley Benneyan celebrated with Coach Cindy Ford.

The 45-second countdown buzzer kickstarts my heart and snaps my mind into focus. Bonnets and big, rolled plaits. Fast and clean. Leave it all in the ring—90-seconds later, it’s all over. I’m a Jumper rider by heart, history and design. I had a well-rounded equine education growing up. I did 4-H, showed Western Pleasure, and even tried driving before switching exclusively to English. Upon my initiation into the Hunter/Jumper world, I extolled George Morris’ book like a bible, understood “form to function” as a principle and drew jump courses in the margins of my class notes.

Despite this fixation, my mixed Western background and lovely Quarter Horse didn’t seem to teach me how to jump too well. I was extremely lucky to have my trainer, Lisa O’Neill, who straightened me out and let me show some of her green sales horses. I dabbled in the Hunter ring and maybe even entered a few Equitation classes, but anyone a mile away could tell you I was not an Equitation rider. I just wanted to go fast and clean. When I tried out for the Skidmore College riding team my freshman year, Coach Cindy Ford told me, “You probably won’t show this year. There’s work we have to do.” I had no idea just how much. IHSA Championship Special Issue

Our coaches definitely don’t use the word “work” lightly. Our team members ride and train almost every day, and we our try our best to be, as Cindy says, “strong like bull.” Even though we may dread the merciless no-stirrups work, the rigor and discipline that our coaches have with our team pays off. It certainly did for me. I’m short. At 5’2” on a good day, I never had the long legs and frame of the classic Equitation rider; I felt that being a Jumper rider played to my strengths. I was designed for it. That first season at Skidmore meant a lot of adjustments for me in attitude and technique. I couldn’t believe it when, in my sophcontinued May 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Road to the Nationals continued

“I got a lot of funny looks holding horses at the ring in full riding gear and my ‘cyborg arm.’ ” —HADLEY BENNEYAN

omore year, I qualified for IHSA Nationals in the Individual Intermediate Flat class. I had a blast showing and received honorable mention, which inspired me to work harder and return to perform even better the next year. The Nationals, held in Lexington, Kentucky, that year, is where I truly began to understand and appreciate the beauty of the goal of the IHSA—to produce well-rounded riders who can read and quickly adapt to a variety of horses while contributing to a team effort. For me, the variety of horses in the Skidmore barn is incredibly helpful to prepare for these shows. Still, sometimes it’s hard to connect with a horse you know well. There’s one horse in particular in our barn that’s one of the most difficult for me to ride well, despite being one of the best draws at our shows. Facing the frustration head on, I practiced with him more than any other horse, trying to find the key that would deliver a good ride together. It became my obsession to figure this horse out. As luck would have it, when we got to Regionals in March, I drew my nemesis! All the extra work was worth it—when we left the ring, I’d won my class. When we travelled to Zones in April, I drew Cornell’s Cocu, a sharp horse with a Junior Jumper background and sporting a bonnet! Bestill my heart! It was surely a sign meant for me, and I could not have been happier going into the ring. As all my teammates joked, I’m probably one of the only riders that wants to pull a Jumper for an Equitation final. My background definitely came in handy, and I placed second, earning a ticket to Nationals!

Bumps in the Road As a team, our season-long road to the



IHSA Nationals was a little bumpier. We battled a lot of illnesses, injuries and, like the rest of the East Coast, lots of snow (great for sledding, not so much for riding). Through it all, the 32 members of our TRICIA BOOKER team continued to work Hadley Benneyan overcame an injury prior to the IHSA Nationals and sported a “cyborg arm.” hard in the classroom (proudly finishing the semester with a team the draw, I felt anxious and unprepared. GPA above 3.6) and even harder at the barn. But I was pleased that I only had to manMy dad is a real “see-a-job, do-a-job” age my anticipation for the first morning, guy, and early on, I learned to place a high rather than throughout the long multipremium on work ethic—sometimes day show, as my teammates did. I drew probably to a fault. I have to say that James, a wonderful horse provided by the group of girls on our team, without Centenary University. exception, work with the purpose and Our coach, Belinda Colgan, told me, discipline of a well-trained surgical team. “He’s just your ride! Up in front and in No one stands still, and directions almost front of your leg.” I remembered that he don’t need to be spoken. had scored a 90 at Nationals last year—I As it turns out, I wasn’t immune to knew I had a great draw, and I just hoped the speed bumps along the road myself. I could do him justice. Due to a pretty significant elbow injury, Walking down the chute to the in-gate, I I had to take the entire two weeks before was trying to just remind myself to breathe Nationals off from riding. I was worried when I remembered something I was taught about not having enough time in the when I first started showing: You have 90 saddle leading up to our event, but I knew seconds in the ring, 90 seconds to give your that I had to play it safe with my injury horse the best ride you can. You have 90 secand trust the process—which included onds of complete attention, leaving the mislots of ice, ultrasound, Ace bandages and takes behind in the past, not holding back, an overdose of worry. Come time to get and to leave it all in the ring. Even though I on the bus to Harrisburg, my elbow was hadn’t been riding in the few weeks, I knew feeling much less painful, despite the full- I had a whole season of preparation behind length arm brace I had to wear. In a huge me and the focused concentration in the arena, it was easy to pick me out of the moment to give it my all. crowd. I got a lot of funny looks holding I laid down one of my best trips of the horses at the ring in full riding gear and season in that ring, thanks to James. I forgot my “cyborg arm.” all about the worry and just had fun confiI was in the very first class of the first dently cruising around the course. I finished day of the show. Standing in the line for in fifth place with a score of 80 against some IHSA Championship Special Issue

“He’s just your ride!” Coach Belinda Colgan told Hadley Benneyan of her draw, James. They placed fifth with a score of 80.

horses and spend inordinate time working with horses and with one another to excel. One of the most poignant moments of Nationals for me wasn’t in the ring, but in the stands. We shared a seating section with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls: the Skidmore Equitation girls and this Western team. On Day 1, we just sort of measured each other with wordless nods, each in our distinct get-ups. On Day 2, when the Western classes began, we instinctively became one big group—learning the subtleties of each other’s disciplines, cheering on (OK, maybe screaming and whooping for) each other’s riders, TRICIA BOOKER PHOTOS holding hands and waiting anxiously for excellent rides. I couldn’t have asked for a bet- people can’t tell you the name of poor Larry results. It reminded me that IHSA is not ter draw, really enjoyed the ride and couldn’t Mullen sitting in the back on the drums. just about showing, but about the common wipe the smile from my face until the end The interviewer asked, “Don’t you get bond between a community of student of the weekend. My teammates were riding bored back there, doing the same thing equestrians at every level. great, our horses were happy and consistent, every night while the other guys get all the When I was 17 and first looking at coland our practice as a team really paid off. glory? Do you ever mix it up just to keep it leges, I never imagined that I would ride at Taking the lead from the first class and interesting?” And Mullen replied something the IHSA Nationals as an individual or be never losing momentum, the hard work of along the lines of, “No way! That’s my job. on the winning National Championship every team member, pointed or not, shone To just keep pounding a steady beat so the team. What I’ve learned, as part of a team, through and helped us win Nationals. As other guys can do what they do. The band as part of a collegiate team, is that success is Cindy reminded us, we couldn’t have gotwouldn’t work as a team otherwise.” a combination of some talent, a lot of hard ten to Nationals without every individual’s Exactly: Each member, no matter his or work, and the efforts and support of those effort working, practicing and showing her level, plays a vital role on our team. around you every day. Success is sweet. throughout the year. Success together is delicious. One of the best things about our team is A Common Bond Hadley Benneyan, 21, of Sussex, New Jerthat it doesn’t matter if you’re “pointed” or Being at Nationals this year reminded sey, is a junior at Skidmore College in Saratonot; each person is given the same attention me of what I first really recognized in Lexga Springs, New York, who is double-majoring and held to the same standards. We all play ington and find so powerful and valuable in management/business and economics with the most important role: being an integral about the IHSA program—that we, being a minor in creative writing. She’ll be spending part of the team. students, riders, teammates and horse peothe summer in Maasbree, the Netherlands, This reminds me of an interview with ple, become like family. Win or lose, in and working for a European show jumping barn. the drummer of U2. Most everyone knows out of the barn, across teams and disciplines, She plans to continue with a career in the Bono, The Edge, and Adam Clayton, the we’re all in the sport because we love it. We horse industry post-graduation. three enigmatic guys up front. But most love horses, and we love people who love continued IHSA Championship Special Issue



Road to the Nationals continued

Being Brave and Beautiful By Abigail Carpenter

Abigail Carpenter was thrilled with her sixth place aboard Irish in the Individual Walk-Trot class.

Horses have always been a fascination of mine, but I never would have thought I’d be competing in a national horse show! I first started riding when I went to Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and took the introductory class. Toward the end of the semester, my nowcoach, Chris Mitchell, asked me whether I would join the school’s IHSA team to be its Walk-Trot rider. I was a little hesitant



at first, because I was just starting and didn’t know if I was good enough to be on a team. Nevertheless, I agreed, and it was the best decision of my life. I joined the equestrian team in January of 2016, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. As you all may know, February is show after show after show, and I had to go to all of them, being the only Walk-Trotter. Five shows in 14 days was exhausting IHSA Championship Special Issue


and exhilarating at the same time. Thankfully, I got to start off the season with my first show at home. I couldn’t have gotten through it without the help of my new teammates; they were so patient with me and taught me everything I know. At the end of the year, I was awarded “Most Improved” on my team. That award meant everything to me and made me realize how much I loved being a part of the team.


As sophomore year started, we gained more teammates, including another Walk-Trot rider, so I didn’t show as often. However, I started learning more in my lessons. I began jumping cross-rails and even doing some riding without stirrups. Toward the end of the semester, I fell off for the first time. It was a pretty bad fall that led to a concussion. The injury kept me from riding or doing anything, really, for a month. It was so hard for me not be able to ride or even go out to the barn. Since it was the end of the semester, I didn’t have a chance to ride before winter break. I think I was more nervous getting back in the saddle after this break than I was before my first show. But I got back into it and got over my fears. It’s still taken me a long time to be comfortable riding without stirrups again. Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so I thought, ‘You’ll have to do it afraid.’ That’s just what I did, and I regained my confidence and strength. I showed more in the spring of 2017 and was improving a lot. By the end of the semester, I only needed one more show to point up into Walk-Trot-Canter. I qualified for Zones and almost qualified for Nationals that year, but I placed third. My team was third, as well, but we sent two individual riders to IHSA Nationals. I went to Lexington, Kentucky, and helped out last year, and it was a really fun and tiring experience. The days were long, but getting to cheer on my teammates was the best part. I really enjoyed watching them and our horses compete. In the fall of 2017, I competed in my last Walk-Trot class at the University of


Randolph College Coach Chris Mitchell and Assistant Coach Lauryn Tannenhaus posed with Abigail Carpenter in the winner’s circle and cheered her on from the rail.

Virginia, winning first place. I finally pointed up to Walk-Trot-Canter. The next time I competed in Walk-Trot was at Regionals; I placed second, which qualified me for Zones.

“I worked hard to get where I am today, but I definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of my amazing teammates and coaches.” —ABIGAIL CARPENTER

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Zones was a different experience altogether. In the huge, uneven outdoor ring, we all got soaked and muddy. I was especially nervous for this show. It was cold and wet, and I felt so bad for all the horses standing out there. As I walked into the ring, Chris told me what he always does: “Go be beautiful!” So I went in, avoided the puddles, and did my best. When they announced the places, I almost couldn’t believe what I heard—I’d received first place! Chris came running up to me and gave me the biggest hug, because I was going to Nationals! We took three riders to the IHSA Nationals this time in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It all went by so fast that I barely remember it. My parents went to support me and took so many videos and blurry pictures, but that made it so special. As I was getting ready, I was so nervous, but I kept telling myself that I’ve worked May 2018 / USHJA IN STRIDE


Road to the Nationals continued


so hard for this and it will pay off. I drew a horse named Irish, whom my teammate had drawn the day before. I mounted and got in line. As I walked through the ingate, I heard Chris say again, “Be beautiful! You have worked hard for this; now show them what you’ve got!” As soon as I stepped into the ring, all my nerves left, and I was just there. I had the time of my life in that ring, and I wasn’t worried about what place I was going to get. They called my number for sixth place, and I couldn’t have been more honored and excited to be there after that. I worked hard to get where I am today, but I definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of my amazing teammates and coaches. They taught me everything I know, and I couldn’t be more grateful to all of them. I’m also thankful for all of the amazing horses I’ve had the pleasure to ride in the past three years. It’s been an incredible journey.




“As I walked through the in-gate, I heard Chris say again, ‘Be beautiful!’ ” said Abigail Carpenter, top. Above, Carpenter (center) awaits her placing.

Abigail Carpenter, 21, was born and raised in Danville, Virginia, and is majoring in biology with a minor in equine studies at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. This summer, she plans to work at a Boy Scout camp teaching them IHSA Championship Special Issue

all about horses and how to ride so they can earn their horsemanship badges. After graduating next year, she wants to work as a veterinary technician and may pursue a career veterinary medicine. She would love to continue riding in the future.

IHSA Nationals— Through a Student’s Lens Lisa Giris, 20, is from Long Island, New York. She’s a senior in the New York University Tisch Department of Photography and Imaging and a member of the NYU equestrian team. She began riding when she was 8 and competed in Interscholastic Equestrian Association shows in high school.



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Profile for Active Interest Media-Boulder

Ushja - In Stride : May 2018  

This issue of USHJA In Stride magazine focuses on the 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, wi...

Ushja - In Stride : May 2018  

This issue of USHJA In Stride magazine focuses on the 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, wi...