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Digital-Only Special Issue

2017 IHSA Championships The Official Magazine of the United States Hunter Jumper Association

May 2017

The IHSA Turns

Katherine Steiner and SunBear

It’s Katherine Steiner’s Time to Shine with USEF/ Cacchione Cup Victory OPEN ➤

USHJA Officers USHJA Officers

Published bimonthly by the United States Hunter Jumper by Equine EquineNetwork. Network. Published bimonthly by the United States Hunter JumperAssociation Associationand and produced produced by ©Copyright 2016 by the United States Hunter Jumper Association. All rights reserved. ©Copyright 2017 by the United States Hunter Jumper Association. All rights reserved.

Direct: (732) 239-1235 Office: (859) 225-6700 mbabick13@gmail.com bill2760@aol.com

Vice Hunter Jumper VicePresident, President, Direct: (425) 823-2802 Direct: (203) 855-8180 dianjnsn@aol.com daviddistler@msn.com

Mary President ViceBabick

Geoff Teall Jumper Vice President,

Direct: (732) 747-3909 daviddistler@msn.com mbabick13@gmail.com

Assistant Director Hunter Direct: (859) 225-6727 Shelly Nelson hsinclair@ushja.org Assistant Managing Director Hunter & Jumper Programs Direct: (859) 225-6722 Katie Patrick snelson@ushja.org Director of Sports Programs

Lillian Direct:Griffin (859) 225-6725 kpatrick@ushja.org Sport Programs Assistant Direct: 225-6714 Erin(859) Keating lgriffin@ushja.org Managing Director of

Sports Programs April Hammond Direct: (859) 225-6717 Sport Programs Assistant ekeating@ushja.org Direct: (859) 225-6702 Education Coordinator Hunter Education & Wheeler Museum ahammond@ushja.org Direct: (859)225-6705 Shelly Nelson Alina Brazzil abrazzil@ushja.org Jumper Assistant Managing Director of Education Coordinator Allison Hunter Eneguess Program FinanceDirect: (859)225-6705 Direct: (859) 225-6722Director Assistant Managing abrazzil@ushja.org Lisa Moss snelson@ushja.org Direct: (859) 225-6703 CFO Whitney Barnard aeneguess@ushja.org Direct: (859) April Hammond Special225-6712 Projects Manager SportMatuszak Programs Zone Coordinator lmoss@ushja.org Direct: (859) 225-6728 Emily Direct: (859) 225-6702 wbarnard@ushja.org Sport Programs Assistant Georgia Holbrook ahammond@ushja.org Direct: (859)225-6729 Sarah Hartmann Accounting Manager Danae Fryman ematuszak@ushja.org Education Programs Assistant Direct: (859) 225-6711 Sport Programs Assistant Direct: (859)225-6733 gholbrook@ushja.org Membership Direct: (859) 225-6734 shartmann@ushja.org dfryman@ushja.org Jamie Martinez Heather Sinclair Finance Membership Coordinator AssistantLisa Director Jumper Moss Direct: (859) 225-6709 Direct: (859) 225-6727 Laura Bostwick Chief Financial Officer jmartinez@ushja.org hsinclair@ushja.org Assistant Managing Director of Direct: (859) 225-6712 lmoss@ushja.org Hunter & Jumper Programs Georgia Holbrook Katie Patrick Manager DirectorAccounting of Sports Program Direct:225-6725 (859) 225-6711 Direct: (859) gholbrook@ushja.org kpatrick@ushja.org

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


Heather Sinclair

Kevin Price Executive Executive Director Kevin Price Direct: (859) 225-6701 Executive Director kprice@ushja.org Direct: (859) 225-6701 Leslie K. Mangan kprice@ushja.org Executive Operations Manager Leslie K. Mangan Direct: (859) 225-6704 Executive Operations Manager lkmangan@ushja.org Direct: (859) Steve225-6704 Rosenberg lkmangan@ushja.org Executive Office Coordinator Education Direct: (859) 225-6721 Alina Brazzil srosenberg@ushja.org

Larry Langer

Larry Langer Secretary

National President Direct: (818)Vice 563-3250 Direct: (561) 346-4488 ceskinner@earthlink.net

President, Hunter ViceDirect: (203)803-0844


Treasurer Treasurer

Direct:Direct: (503) 704-7985 (425) 823-2802 ozinc@yahoo.com dianjnsn@aol.com

Charlotte Skinner-Robson

David Distler

USHJA Staff Executive

Shelley Campf Dianne Johnson

Dianne Johnson David Distler

Mary J. Babick William Moroney

President (on leave of absence) President

JumperProjects Programs Special Direct: (859) 225-6703

Whitney Skirtich Barnard lbostwick@ushja.org Direct: (859) 225-6728 Emily Matuszak wskirtich@ushja.org



Jamie SportMartinez & Association Services Membership and Office Manager Art Department Direct: (859) 225-6709 Suzanne Dorman jmartinez@ushja.org

Managing Director

Sport & Association Services Direct: (859) 225-6715 sdorman@ushja.org Art Department Suzanne Dorman Joshua Director Mims Managing Digital Designer Direct: (859) 225-6715 Direct: (859) 225-6718 sdorman@ushja.org jmims@ushja.org Joshua Mims Digital Designer Awards & Merchandise Direct: (859) 225-6718 Marla Holt jmims@ushja.org Managing Director Direct: Sowinski (859) 225-6710 Rachel mholt@ushja.org Graphic Designer Direct: (859) 225-6720 Emma Nichols rsowinski@ushja.org Awards Assistant Awards Merchandise Direct:&(859) 225-6708 Marla Holt enichols@ushja.org Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6710 Communications mholt@ushja.org Megan Lacy Managing Director Emma Nichols Direct: (859) 225-6723 Awards Coordinator mlacy@ushja.org Direct: (859) 225-6708 enichols@ushja.org Louise Taylor Communications Program Promotions & Megan Lacy Communications Manager Managing Director Direct: (859)-6706 Direct: (859) 225-6723 ltaylor@ushja.org mlacy@ushja.org

Louise Taylor Program & In Promotions Stride Communications Manager Tricia Booker Direct: (859) 225-6706 Editor ltaylor@ushja.org Direct: (703) 431-7103 Kristin Rover tbooker@ushja.org Regional Communications Sponsorship & Advertising Manager Direct:Whitney (859) 225-6726 Allen krover@ushja.org Managing Director Direct: (859) 225-6707 In Stride wallen@ushja.org Tricia Booker Editor Insko Direct:Jill (703) 431-7103 Sponsor Relations & tbooker@ushja.org Fulfillment Manager Sponsorship Advertising Direct:&(859) 225-6716 Whitney Allen jinsko@ushja.org Managing Director Direct:USHJA (859) 225-6707 Foundation wallen@ushja.org Bill Rube Funds Development Jill Insko Director Sponsor Relations & Direct: (859) 225-6731 Fulfillment Manager Direct:brube@ushja.org (859) 225-6716 jinsko@ushja.org

Steve Rosenberg

USHJAFoundation Foundation Coordinator

Bill Rube Direct: (859) 225-6721 Funds srosenberg@ushja.org Development Director Direct: (859) 225-6731 brube@ushja.org Zone & Affiliate Programs Erin Keating Kate Cattani Managing Director Foundation Coordinator (859) 225-6717 Direct:Direct: (732) 979-7262 ekeating@ushja.org kcattani@ushja.org

Kristin Rover Regional Communications Manager Direct: (859)-6726 krover@ushja.org

Sport Programs Assistant Direct: (859)225-6729 ematuszak@ushja.org

Member Benefits

Member Benefits

• Affiliate Awards Program • Outreach Competitions • Affiliate Awards Program • Outreach Competitions • Amateur Sportsmanship Award • Owners Resource Guide • Amateur Sportsmanship Award • Owners Resource Guide • Breeders and Stallion Owners Directory in Rule Change Process • Breeders and Stallion Owners Directory • Participation • Participation in Rule Change Process • Discounted Subscriptions to to • Stirrup CupCup Awards • Discounted Subscriptions • Stirrup Awards Equine Network Publications • Trainer Certification Program Equine Network Publications • Trainer Certification Program • Educational Clinics • Trainers Directory • Educational Clinics • Trainers Directory • Emerging Athletes Program • Emerging Athletes Program • USHJA E-News • USHJA E-News • Opportunity to Serve • USHJA In Stride Magazine • Opportunity to Serve on aon a • USHJA In Stride Magazine Committee or Task Force • Zone Horse of the Year Awards Committee or Task Force • Zone Horse of the Year Awards

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

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

Vice President, Equine Group DAVID ANDRICK

Executive Chairman ZIMBALIST Vice President, Controller JOSEPH COHEN SeniorEFREM Vice President, CFOIII & Treasurer CEO & President ANDREW W. CLURMAN Vice President, Research KRISTY KAUS Vice President, Equine Group DAVID ANDRICK MICHAEL HENRY AIM Board Chair EFREM ZIMBALIST Chief Innovation DORN Vice President, Executive Vice President & CFOOfficer BRIANJONATHAN SELLSTROM Controller JOSEPH COHEN III Executive Vice President, Operations PATRICIA B. FOX Executive Vice President, Operations PATRICIA B. FOX Vice President, Finance CRAIG RUCKER Senior Vice President, Digital & Data JONATHAN DORN Vice President, Research KRISTY KAUS





IHSA Championship Special Issue W W W. U S H J A . O R G

Senior Editor LAUREL SCOTT Art Director ANNIE KENNEDY LAUREL SCOTTPublisher/Advertising Senior Editor Associate Sales MICHELLE ADAWAY HEIDI SCHEING Art Director

(859) 619-8263, madaway@aimmedia.com MICHELLE ADAWAY Associate Publisher/Advertising Sales

(859) 619-8263, madaway@aimmedia.com

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May 2017 Digital-Only Special Issue LOUISE TAYLOR



 ide Along for the R Next 50 Years!

8 It’s Katherine Steiner’s

Time to Shine with USEF/ Cacchione Cup Victory The Savannah College of Art and Design clinches its third consecutive Collegiate Cup team title. By Tricia Booker


Photo Gallery

28 The Road to the Nationals


Sophie Meserve, of the College of Charleston, describes her journey to the culminating show of the season at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

33 IHSA Nationals—

Through a Student’s Lens By Alex Varisco








IHSA Championship Special Issue

Ride Along for the Next 50 Years!

Dear USHJA Members, It feels like only yesterday that I was a business major at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and working horse shows as a ringmaster on weekends. I wasn’t the only undergraduate who wanted to ride, and with Bob Cacchione, right, with Duncan the enormous help of mentors, coaches and friends like Jack Fritz, Peters, the first winner of the George Morris, Michael Page, Vic- Cacchione Cup tor Hugo-Vidal, Bert de Némethy, association in the United States. George Lukemire, Joan Johnson, From two competing schools in Dee Jones, Jane 1967, the IHSA Flynn, Marilyn has grown to “I see the IHSA Cobb, Linda now serve more Jaskiel Hamgoing international than 400 eduilton, Naomi cational instituand, between my Blumenthal tions and 9,000 and Tom and frequent flyer miles Hunt Seat and Claiborne Bishand my reloadable Western riders op, we united in 45 states and around an idea Starbucks card, Canada. The that any student IHSA offers I’m ready.” who wanted to scholarships ride in college while rewardshould be able ing academic as to, regardless of well as riding skill level or the excellence. The financial responIHSA includes sibility of owning a horse. five decades of alumni whose jourThis 50th anniversary of the neys have led some (like Greg Best, Intercollegiate Horse Shows Beezie Madden, Mark WeissbeckAssociation is a wonderful mileer and Peter Wylde) as far as the stone and legacy. Olympic medal podium. We, and I mean “we,” were viOn Friday evening during our sionaries when our idea became the first organized collegiate riding IHSA Nationals, more than 1,000




IHSA Championship Special Issue

alumni and members joined me for one of the most amazing and humbling evenings of my life. The IHSA’s 50th anniversary is proof of the success of our commitment to collegiate riding and of the tireless support of corporate friends and sponsors like the United States Hunter Jumper Association, the United States Equestrian Federation, the American Quarter Horse Association and the National Reining Horse Association. This is a remarkable organization, and we’ve built an extraordinary riding program. To see how far my love for horses, riding and providing similar opportunities for other students has taken me is a lesson, I hope, that future generations can take with them: Never stop striding forward. Where will the IHSA be in the next 50 years? I believe that we can bring this program and its foundation in riding principles (always praised by one of our first judges, George Morris) to a global arena. I see the IHSA going international and, between my frequent flyer miles and my reloadable Starbucks card, I’m ready. Care to ride along?

Robert E. “Bob” Cacchione IHSA Founder and Executive Director

It’s Katherine Steiner’s Time to Shine with USEF/Cacchione Cup Victory The Savannah College of Art and Design clinches its third consecutive Collegiate Cup team title. By Tricia Booker


hen Katherine Steiner traveled to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington for her fourth IHSA Nationals, May 4-7, it was with a very different purpose. While she’d attended the Nationals with Centenary University each year, this was the first time she’d qualified to compete. Steiner made her first Nationals competition a memorable one, winning the USEF/Cacchione Cup during the IHSA’s 50th anniversary year. She added her name to a venerable list of past Cup winners, including Olympic medalists such as Beezie Madden and Peter Wylde, along with many industry leaders and top professionals. “This is really a ‘Cinderella’ story for Katie,” said Michael Dowling, who coaches the New Jersey-based Centenary Cyclones with Heather Clark. “She worked hard, was very focused and dedicated to the cause. She’s been a truly wonderful team player for Katherine Steiner won the over-fences and flat phases on her way to victory in the USEF/Cacchione Cup. 8



Katherine Steiner, of Centenary University, captured the USEF/Cacchione Cup during her first appearance at IHSA Nationals. four years for us, and she’s one of the top people in the barn. She’s been here as a volunteer for three years. She knows the game, which makes this win all that much more special—she was the one wiping

the boots for the people going in the ring.” For Steiner, 22, of Pleasanton, California, the victory was overwhelming—but a just reward for many years of dedication in the saddle and the stable. “I’m kind of beyond words,” she said after the awards ceremony. “It’s a big win for me, my first time out here. I’m so happy.”

A Perfect Strategy


IHSA Championship Special Issue

Steiner made an impression in the Cacchione Cup right from the start as one of 38 students to compete over the challenging course designed by Tom Hern, Jr. on Friday morning. Steiner posted the best score, an 88, from judges Linda Andrisani and Steve Wall. The top 24 riders then returned later in the afternoon in two sections of 12 for the flat phase, where Steiner again topped the continued

IHSA Championship Special Issue



College of Charleston Team Captain Leads Without Riding Although she didn’t compete at ing me on from the other side of IHSA Nationals, the College of the country,” she said. “The supCharleston’s team captain is setport has been so amazing.” ting a positive example as the leadDorn has learned a lot about er of her team. herself through her recovery—esAmber Dorn, of California, was pecially that she can’t put any limits involved in a serious riding accident on herself. March 13, 2016. It had left her “I think the most difficult lesson with significant injuries, including to learn was that it’s so easy to be broken collar bones, a fractured wrapped up in what you look like skull and fractured vertebrae in her and how you look to other peoneck after falling and being stepped ple, and I think that’s something on by her horse. She also suffered a a lot of Millennials can relate to,” stroke afterward, due to damage to Dorn said. “I’ve had to turn inher carotid artery. ward. I don’t look like me. I feel Though he knew Dorn would like me, but what I see on the outface a long recovery and may never Amber Dorn, right, and team- side doesn’t match how I feel. I’ve ride again, team coach Bob Story thrown myself into developing who mate Julie Barton wanted her to lead the team. I am as a person.” “I said, ‘I still want you to be the captain,’ ” Story Dorn has focused on her recovery and is exceedsaid. “We chatted about that, and she has done a ing every expectation that her doctors have for her. great job. She’s kind of my liaison. She’s just willing “My goals when I was initially coming out of reto do anything and everything; basically the only hab are vastly different from what I aspire to now,” thing she can’t do is ride.” she said. “When I was first out of the hospital, I At first, Dorn said that she doubted her ability to wanted to be able to take a bath. That was my goal, lead the team. and I worked hard in PT. Now, I’m trying to figure “I had a hard time at first, because I felt like I had out when I want to apply to medical school.” no business being a leader if I couldn’t be in the And when it comes to riding, Dorn said she’s trenches riding,” she said. “I know now that no one been back on a horse but will have to learn how was thinking the same way I was.” to find a balance between what she wants and Dorn said that the support she’s received from what’s safe. her teammates has been amazing. “It’s forced me to refocus on why I love riding “It was amazing that this whole group was cheerand how it feels,” she said. “I can’t have an agenda. I need to find what an acceptable amount of risk is. I need it to keep me happy and sane, but I also need to stay alive.” Story said he has no doubts that she’s going to be able to do anything she sets her mind to do. “She’s a remarkable young lady,” he said. —Kristin Rover PHOTOS COURTESY AMBER DORN

Amber Dorn said the support she’s received from her College of Charleston teammates has been amazing. 10


IHSA Championship Special Issue

IHSA National Championship continued field, scoring an 89. After winning the first two phases, her 6.5-point lead gave the judges pause when considering their work-off plan for Saturday morning. “Because she was so far in front, we decided after seeing them in two phases that it was enough. We had a clear winner,” said Wall. “Then we debated yesterday, ‘Should we just test second through fifth and leave first out of it?’ Then we thought, ‘No, let’s see if she can answer the bell one more time. It is a championship.’ And she did—she was very good.” Tatum Tatreau rode James to the show’s high score of 90 on her way to victory Andrisani was impressed with in the Team Open Fences class for the Savannah College of Art and Design. Steiner’s composure. “She mainsolidly in first place overall. tained it. She was a steady compet- (one fence) to get a good track to the next jump. “She came in with a huge lead, itor. She never gave in,” she said. “It was a pretty nerve-wracking and it’s easy to choke,” said Wall. “She was cautious in the second place to be, but I felt confident in “She didn’t, and she kept riding round and careful not to have the horse,” she added. “Watching forward. She had a little bit of a any major errors, but she rode exhim go all week, I thought he’d be difficult halt, but that wasn’t an tremely well.” my ride. He’s a more huntery ride.” easy horse. She dealt with it as best For the work-off, Steiner drew In the end, Steiner took the lon- she could and went on with it, not the Savannah College of Art and ger, outside route, but the result making it a big deal.” Design’s EJ, a 16.2-hand bay geldwas a solid work-off performance Lauren Henry, of the University ing. She knew that he had some that placed second and kept her of Rhode Island, won the work-off challenging characterisand moved up from tics that would be testfifth to place second ed in the work-off— overall. Kelsey Sloan, especially when the of Middle Tennesjudges asked the riders see State University, to halt in front of them placed third, while in between a bending Anastasia Bezsylko, line of two fences. of Franklin and Mar“The one thing they shall College, took said was that in the fourth, and Abigail halts, he can pull the Johnston, of the Unirider above the pomversity of Delaware, mel; so I focused on was fifth. sitting back, because Wall noted that I also like to get ahead all five of the riders of the pommel,” Steinwho tested impressed er explained. “So that them. was our biggest ques“They proved in tion going in—wheththe test, on the flat er to get that halt early Lillian Hilgers captured the Team Novice Flat to help the Saand in the first jumpenough to decide to vannah College of Art and Design clinch a third consecutive go inside or around team title. continued



IHSA Championship Special Issue



Mount Holyoke Students Rally Around Mika McKinney


The 2016-17 Mount Holyoke Equestrian Team



ine trying to do all of this alone. It would have been a lot more daunting and intimidating. Having them is a huge asset to my recovery and positivity.” In addition, McKinney credited staying involved at the barn—and just being around horses—with making a difference in her recovery. “My father and I decided where I needed to be was at school and with the horses, even just spending time watching C.J. coach. It made me feel like I was still involved and part of the team, and helping any way I could,” she said. McKinney, who is also captain of the dressage team, was able to compete at the Intercollegiate Dressage Association Nationals just after starting treatment. McKinney placed eighth individually for her level in dressage and also participated in the team competition, placing first in her division and helping her team take second overall. She said she was thankful to be able to live-stream all of the competitions from IHSA Nationals since she couldn’t attend in person. “I was able to not miss a single ride, which was really special,” McKinney said. “I was able to hear the announcement about the belts, and it was funny to hear that live broadcast all the way in Massachusetts. It was really touching.” Law and many of McKinney’s teammates are amazed by McKinney’s positivity through such a difficult situation. “She’s been handling it really well. Gosh, it’s just been amazing,” Law said. “She’s so optimistic. She’s just one of those riders that stands out to all of us.” McKinney said she knows that being positive and competitive about getting better can only help. “Hopefully, my teammates, as well as others, will be able to see how this journey goes and see how positivity and all the support really helped make this healing process go by faster and be way more tolerable,” McKinney said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to have been diagnosed with cancer anywhere except Mount Holyoke.” —Kristin Rover

IHSA Championship Special Issue


This year at the IHSA Nationals, touches of navy blue and yellow could be found in the barns and around the ring, as well as the hash tag #rideformika on social media. The yellow ribbons, navy belts and the hash tag were all in support of Mount Holyoke’s Mika McKinney, who instead of competing at the Nationals, spent the week at Massachusetts General Hospital receiving chemotherapy treatments. McKinney, 21, of Belfast, Maine, Mika McKinney was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma—bone cancer— in her knee. Cancer was also found in her lungs. “It was only two months ago that this all happened,” Mount Holyoke Head Riding Coach C.J. Law said. “She wanted to be at Nationals with us, but her next round of chemo started when we were at Nationals.” After McKinney was diagnosed, Law and all of McKinney’s teammates at Mount Holyoke stepped up to support her. A food train was organized, volunteers braided horses in Mika’s colors at Regionals and teammates helped Mika tack up, so that she could focus her energy on riding. In addition, the hash tag #rideformika and a GoFundMe account were created. At Nationals, IHSA members donned yellow ribbons in honor of McKinney, and C4 Belts created special navy belts for her team and to raise money. “Everyone has just gone out of their way,” McKinney said. “They’ve gone above and beyond what I would have expected. I could only imag-

IHSA National Championship continued ing phase to be good horsemen and good riders on whatever they rode,” he said. “When I judge Equitation, I look for a rider who I would put on my green horse, and I would put any one of those five on my horse. They were very impressive kids.” For Steiner, a graduating senior in equine studies, the win was a great reward for a lifetime commitment to horses and riding, as well as a springboard as she transitions from college to a professional career. She will now take an assistant trainer position with Denize Borges, of Crystal Image Farms in Sunol, California, one of the trainMadison Albano trotted to victory in the Team Intermediate Flat for the ers she rode with as a junior. Savannah College of Art and Design. “We are so excited for her. Since she’s been with us, she’s probably the winner of the Jockey Club riding their horses and their plans. not missed an IHSA horse show in Thoroughbred Incentive Program She had her plan and executed it. four years,” said Dowling of SteinAward. She was really, really good.” er. “And she’s also a huge player on “She came in early and set the Andrisani and Wall selected the our team. She’s helped facilitate the pace,” said Wall of Freeman. “A lot winner based on the rider’s perhorse shows we run, she’s one who of times in those classes, someone formance at Nationals, as well as a schools the horses and helps to set will make a turn and do something; questionnaire identifying the ridthem up. From the day she stepped then everyone tries that instead of er’s goals in the sport. In addition foot at Centenary, she’s to educational matebeen an integral part of rials through Equesthe team.” trianCoach.com, the As a testament to her winner receives an role as a team player, apprenticeship with Steiner noted on her Stacia Madden of Facebook page after the Beacon Hill. competition: “Alone, SCAD Scores we’re a whisper; but together, we’re a cyclone.” a Triple The EquestrianAfter the Savannah Coach.com AchieveCollege of Art and ment of Excellence Design earned its first Award for Open Hunt Collegiate Cup in Seat rider was present2015 in a nail-biting ed to Claudia Freeman finish over Centenary of Rochester Institute University, it was déof Technology (New jà vu two years later. York). Freeman won With SCAD returnthe Individual Open Michael Andrade’s solid position, with and without irons, ing as the two-time Fences class riding helped him win the Team and Individual Open Flat classes defending champions, Centenary’s Turkey, for Centenary University. continued



IHSA Championship Special Issue



2017 IHSA Hunt Seat Equitation Champions Walk-Trot

Team—Sidney Black, St. Lawrence University (New York) Individual—Hannah McColl, University of Findlay (Ohio)


Team—Claire Womack, Stanford University (California) Individual—Victoria Jenkins, Miami University of Ohio

Individual—Zellie Wothers, Bridgewater College (Virginia)

Intermediate Fences

Team—Skylar Laakso, Centenary University (New Jersey) Individual—Sabrina Vlacich, St. Andrews University (North Carolina)

Open Flat

Novice Flat

Team and Individual—Michael Andrade, Centenary University

Novice Fences

Team—Tatum Tatreau, Savannah College of Art and Design Individual—Claudia Freeman, Rochester Institute of Technology (New York)

Team—Lillian Hilgers, Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia) Individual—Caroline Biggs, Vanderbilt University (Tennessee)

Open Fences

Team—Bobbie Adsit, Emory & Henry College (Virginia) Individual—Caitlin Doocy, St. Lawrence University

Alumni Flat

Intermediate Flat

Individual—Morgan Sollenberger, Emory & Henry College

Team—Madison Albano, Savannah College of Art and Design

Individual—Emily Kowalchik, Cornell University (New York)

Alumni Fences

USEF/Cacchione Cup Top 10

Katherine Steiner, Centenary, University (New Jersey) Lauren Henry, University of Rhode Island Kelsey Sloan, Middle Tennessee State University Anastasia Bezsylko, Franklin and Marshall College (Pennsylvania) Abigail Johnston, University of Delaware Rebecca Hauseman, University of Notre Dame/ Saint Mary’s College (Indiana) Rachel Kowalczyk, Hartwick College (New York) Christina Antonucci, Lynchburg College (Virginia) Caitlin Kimmell, Texas Tech University Elizabeth Chenelle, Liberty University (Virginia)

IHSA National Championship continued coach Ashley Henry and Eddie Federwisch, director of equestrian studies, again faced the challenge of maintaining success, which is often much harder than achieving it initially. “That’s obviously something you always want to happen,” said Henry of the “three-peat.” “And I really did my best as a coach not to think about it, because I don’t want it to be too much pressure and overwhelming. And the students already know it; they know they’re coming back as the defending back-to-back national champions. Mentally, it’s tough for them.” In the end, the race for the Collegiate Cup was determined by the Open Fences and Flat classes, the final team classes on Saturday. SCAD’s Tatum Tatreau didn’t bow to the pressure, and her second-place finish in the Open Flat clinched the championship even as Centenary’s Michael Andrade stepped up to claim the win. SCAD finished with 32 points, 5 points more than Centenary’s 27. Stanford University (California) placed third with 20 points after a hard-fought ending when

Alumni Tidbits

Emily Kowalchik, of Cornell University (New York), won the Alumni Flat this year after winning the Alumni Fences last year.



Morgan Sollenberger won the Team Novice Fences for Emory & Henry College (Virginia) last year and won Alumni Fences this year.

IHSA Championship Special Issue


Lifetime Achievement winner Peggy McElveen oversaw the draw table.

The Best and Favorite Horses The Savannah College of Art and Design’s Maverick, a 16.2-hand bay gelding described as a “fancy Equitation horse,” earned the Triple Crown High-Point Hunt Seat Horse Award. Randolph College’s Sunny Banks, a 15.2-hand chestnut gelding, received the SmartPak Most Popular Hunt Seat Horse Award. Centenary University’s Turkey, a 16-hand bay gelding (registered name Street Legal), won the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program Award. Centenary University’s Turkey


Coach Ashley Henry was thrilled when Tatum Tatreau clinched SCAD’s victory with second place in Team Open Flat. its Open Flat rider, Kristen Blomstrom, was kicked in the leg and injured at the start of the class. Yet she still finished the class and placed in the top 10. Henry, at the helm of the Georgia-based college now for 12 years, said the team members continued to train as hard as they always did this season. She talked collectively about the added pressure they faced as IHSA Nationals approached. As early as last fall, Henry began to plan which riders she’d include on the team. She was thankful she had a deep well of talent and time in which to strategize. “I’m really happy for them, and especially for a couple of my seniors coming back, veterans who had been here and done it,” she said. “We also had two freshmen on the team this year—that was a little nerve-wracking. When we got here with the horses, I kept sending them photos of the Alltech Arena so they could see what continued


Savannah College of Art and Design’s Maverick


Randolph College’s Sunny Banks


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IHSA National Championship continued it looked like, because it can be overwhelming. But it was nice to have them here and for them see the Rolex course and the Kentucky Horse Park.” This year’s SCAD team consisted of: Vincent DeLissio (Walk-

Trot); Ally Bates (Walk-Trot-Canter); Lillian Hilgers (Novice Flat); Tess Mroczka (Novice Fences); Madison Albano (Intermediate Flat); Meredith Denny (Intermediate Fences); and Tatum Tatreau (Open Flat and Fences). SCAD riders won the three classes, including the Open Fenc-

es, in which Tatreau rode Centenary’s James to the show’s high score of 90. “I watched him school all week, and he seemed like a fine draw; but everyone was telling me different things about him,” said Tatreau. Her strategy was to pick up a canter, get him in front of her leg and

We Are Looking for a Rider Judges Linda Andrisani, of Wellington, Florida, and Steve Wall, of Pinehurst, North Carolina, presided over the Hunt Seat classes of the IHSA National Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. While Andrisani had judged the Nationals on a previous occasion, this was Wall’s first experience at this type of competition, where riders draw a horse from a pool and compete against one another via catch riding. Wall currently judges 30 to 35 horse shows per year and also teaches riding and judging clinics throughout the country. In Wall’s words: “I’ve been judging a long time, maybe 30 years, and having been a kid in college who rode IHSA, judging here meant a lot. “In addition, this show has turned into one of the judging jewels. In golf, it’s the majors, such as the Masters and the U.S. Open. And in horse showing this is one of the majors, along with Harrisburg (the Pennsylvania National), Washington, the National, Devon and the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit. It was an honor to be asked, and I look forward to doing it again some day. “While I attended Averett College (Virginia), we qualified 16


twice for the IHSA Nationals. The first year we went to Mount Holyoke College, and it was a fun experience, with the camaraderie and Judges Steve Wall and Linda Andrisani the team spirit. You for the riders to do well. meet a lot of people you don’t “We gave one girl (Tatum see anywhere else, which was Tatreau) a 90 this week in the great. Open Team class. She got a cou“I was an Open rider, and back in those days, the kids who ple of extra points because she rode a challenging horse well. showed a lot in the American Horse Shows Association shows Earlier in the week, during the Open Individual class, we judged (now the United States Equesanother rider (Claudia Freeman) trian Federation) were thrust who also won because she was right into the Open division. It on a tricky horse. So both Open was a more level playing field Fences riders’ winners proved back then. I had friends in the they were riders. Walk-Trot, though. At first, I “I guess both Linda and I, would chuckle inside watching grizzled veterans that we are, are them, but everyone had to start looking for a rider. Do we look somewhere, and their points at position? Of course. Do we count the same! And when look at how they get along with my points were left off and my each horse? Of course. But we’re Walk-Trot teammate was in the ring, you bet I’d be cheering him also looking for a rider, one that adapts to the ride and doesn’t on! force every horse to fit a certain “Speaking of that, one of the mold. Both of those kids (Clauthings that I think shocks most dia Freeman and Tatum Tatreau) people when I give judging clinics is that the judge is always pull- won in the Open division because of that talent. Both of the ing for you. As a judge, I want to Open Fences classes were great throw an 88 or 90 and have the and fun to judge.” crowd go wild. All you want is


IHSA Championship Special Issue

team. She gives her life for this— she’s so inspiring. I don’t think I would be the rider I am today without her influence.” Henry was equally as complimentary about Tatreau and her dedication: “She came to me the very first week of school, and knowing it was her senior year, she asked, ‘What’s your plan for me this year?’ Technically, coming into the year, she was still an Intermediate Flat rider. I said to her, ‘We’re going to put you in Open and run for the Cacchione Cup. I know you can do it, but you need to give me the hard work and really focus on a few things.’ “And she was game for it, and so eager, and wanted it,” continued Henry. “She was like, ‘I’m ready! I’ve been sitting on the bench waiting!’ And that’s always great. You have those Open riders who really want it. They see the other students and alumni who’ve done it all, and the fact that she had the drive and dedication was amazing. She’s always at the barn

with me every day. She has a great sense of humor and has a great riding career behind her and in front of her.” Henry was especially thrilled that a SCAD student earned the show’s top score. However, she was equally proud to recognize all of the team players that worked behind the scenes, enabling SCAD to give 100 percent each time its riders or their horses stepped into the show ring. “I brought 12 grooms as well as the team riders, and those students—the horse handlers and schooling riders—all were so dedicated,” she said. “They were getting our horses ready for other competitors. They were coming back at 10 at night, checking the horses and here at 4:30 a.m. to feed them. It really is a full team effort, and a lot of them really felt that here at Nationals this year. Being able to do this really allows you to showcase every aspect of your program, and I’m proud of them all.”

Other Awards Peggy McElveen, IHSA riding coach (St. Andrews University), draw coordinator and “one of the most popular equestrian team coaches in IHSA history,” received the 2017 IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award. Georgia Skelton, of Georgetown College, won the Theresa L. McDonald 2017 Scholarship Challenge, sponsored by EQUUS Magazine. Skelton also won the 2013 USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge National Championship.

IHSA National Sportsmanship Awards Coach—Sarah Younger, volunteer coordinator (University of Louisville) Student—Bridget Finnerty (Mount Holyoke College) Volunteer—Joyce Northrup, awards coordinator (Oneonta State College)

IHSA Championship Special Issue


then sit quietly to guide him as easily and smoothly as she could. “Our Open rider drew him last year, so we had an idea of how he went. It was definitely a different ride than I’m used to,” she noted. “He’s very unique and very soft in the mouth. He doesn’t like a lot of contact, but unlike a lot of horses that don’t like contact, he was right there the entire time. He was totally game. After the fifth jump into the bending line, I was like, ‘OK, let’s do this!’” Despite the pressure of riding for the team and possibly the victory, Tatreau rose to the challenge. “It’s amazing. The coaches try to keep the points quiet from us, but it’s impossible not to know,” she said. “So I knew there was a lot of weight on my shoulders going into this round, and I wanted to do it for the team. We had some unfortunate rounds and draws earlier in the week, and I knew everyone’s end-of-the-year goal was resting on me. I wanted to go in there and give it the best possible attempt I could, and at least be able to say, ‘I did my best.’ And I did.” Tatreau, 21, of Cerritos, California, grew up in Southern California competing in the Hunters and Equitation divisions with trainer Carolyn Biava. She’s graduating this spring with a degree in equestrian studies and has accepted a job working for trainer Max Amaya. “I’ve been a working student for him the past two summers, so he’s been a huge help with my riding and putting me on as many horses as he can,” she said. “Ashley’s been an amazing coach. I think over the past four years, it’s been impossible to ride with someone like her and not give 150 percent each time you walk in the ring. She’s there every second of the day, and on days when she doesn’t have to be, all for the

Georgia Skelton with Bob Cacchione and Cricket Stone




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. The Stanford University team took third place in the Collegiate Cup back to California.


Centenary University finished a close second in the Collegiate Cup standings with many standout performances.

The Savannah College of Art and Design team earned its third consecutive Collegiate Cup win in a hard-fought battle that came down to the final class. 18


IHSA Championship Special Issue


Tatum Tatreau’s tactful ride aboard James resulted in a score of 90 and the win in the Team Open Fences class for the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Morgan Sollenberger of Emory & Henry College jumped to the top in the Alumni Fences class.

Tatum Tatreau rewards James as she exited the ring.

Tatum Tatreau received congratulations from Eddie Federwisch and her SCAD teammates. Mount Holyoke’s C.J. Law, center, and Bob Cacchione, right, presented the IHSA National Sportsmanship awards to, from left, Joyce Northrup, Sarah Younger and Bridget Finnerty.

Katherine Steiner’s solid halt and performance in the Cacchione Cup work-off resulted in a well-earned victory.

continued IHSA Championship Special Issue




The tension remained high even during the final lineup in the flat classes.

Mount Holyoke rode for teammate Mika McKinney and carried her photo during the parade of teams.

The trio from Rutgers University enjoyed the parade of teams. Left: Penn State University tied for ninth in the Collegiate Cup.


Bottom left: The College of Charleston mascot even traveled from South Carolina for the parade of teams.

The IHSA Career Fair proved a popular 20


IHSA Championship Special Issue


Randolph College team members sported their “wildcat” ears during the parade of teams.

The St. Lawrence University team members enjoyed their time at Nationals and returned to New York with fifth place.

Smiles abounded at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s team table as they led the Collegiate Cup standings nearly from the start. The third-placed Stanford University team members worked hard in the ring and out.

stop for riders, parents and fans.

IHSA Executive Director Bob Cacchione enjoyed posing with the teams during the parade. continued IHSA Championship Special Issue




The IHSA Memory Wall was a wonderful addition to the Nationals celebration.


USHJA Executive Director Kevin Price, left, and IHSA Executive Director Bob Cacchione

Centenary University’s Michael Andrade dominated the Open Flat, winning the Team and Individual titles. 22



Peggy McElveen, center, received the coveted IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award during Friday night’s 50th anniversary reception.


Bob Cacchione enjoyed the IHSA 50th anniversary reception on Friday night.



USEF CEO Bill Moroney, center, joined the IHSA’s 50th celebration party on Friday night.

Victoria Jenkins topped the Individual Walk-Trot-Canter for Miami University of Ohio.

IHSA Championship Special Issue


Zellie Wothers enjoyed the spoils of winning the Individual Intermediate Flat for Bridgewater College (Virginia).

Caitlyn Doocy took the Individual Novice Fences title for St. Lawrence University (New York).

Skylar Laakso helped Centenary University claim second in the Collegiate Cup with the Team Intermediate Fences class win.

Sabrina Vlacich rode to the top in the Individual Intermediate Fences for St. Andrews University (North Carolina).

Stanford’s Claire Womack clinched the victory in Team WalkTrot-Canter on their way to third in the Collegiate Cup. continued

IHSA Championship Special Issue



Time Flies: The IHSA Turns

After five decades, Bob Cacchione’s desire to continue riding in college has impacted tens of thousands of students.

By Nancy Jaffer



director, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, travels around the country to attend shows and ensure the organization is running as it should. “The Intercollegiate isn’t what I do; the Intercollegiate is who I am,” said Cacchione. While in the eyes of many he’s the embodiment of the group, Cacchione is quick to credit all of the people across the country—including the organizations and spon-

sors—who make the IHSA what it’s become. The IHSA Executive Committee is composed of those who have also dedicated their time and expertise to the organization. The list includes Peter Cashman, first vice president; George Lukemire, second vice president; Naomi Blumenthal, national treasurer; Patte Zumbrun, national secretary; Sally Batton, national steward; and Ollie Griffith, associate national steward. “I’m still there, but for a long time, this hasn’t been a ‘Bob Cacchione Operation,’ ” he said, citing the work of all those in the group’s 39 Regions, eight Zones and the many other past directors.

Where There’s a Will



few years ago, Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association founder Robert E. “Bob” Cacchione was heading back from the USHJA Annual Meeting in Texas when he ran into a little problem at the airport. It seemed that the lead content in the crystal trophy he’d received for the President’s Distinguished Service Award caused the Transportation Security Administration to seek a closer inspection. But when an agent unwrapped the trophy, she spotted his name engraved on the vase and took note. “She said, ‘Oh my God! You’re Bob Cacchione, of the Cacchione Cup. I rode in the IHSA 10 years ago at Texas Tech,’ ” Cacchione recalled with a chuckle. “That was a Kodak moment.” But the incident was unusual only because of its circumstances. As the IHSA marks its 50th anniversary this year, Cacchione can recount any number of times that people have recognized him and talked about their days in the IHSA and what it meant to them. From September through May, the organization’s unpaid executive

Bob Cacchione in 1969 with the inaugural Cacchione Cup IHSA Championship Special Issue

The IHSA started because Cacchione wanted to continue riding while he was attending college, but his parents couldn’t afford to pay for both his tuition and a horse. So the enterprising 18-year-old organized a campus riding club at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, working with a local stable. He found five people to whom he could give group les-

Bob Cacchione, fourth from left, with the 1973 Fairleigh-Dickinson University-Teaneck IHSA team


The first Cacchione Cup was awarded in 1972.


sons, striking a deal with the stable the coveted in“I didn’t care what owner that enabled him to ride for your financial abilidividual Open free if he brought in the others to ty was, whether you championship, rent mounts. could afford a horse or while also repreThe five club members quickcouldn’t, what your riding ability senting their college on a team. ly became 40; the group held its was,” said Cacchione. “My dream During the early years of the first show, and the concept spread was to create something where evIHSA, Cacchione worked with to other campuses. It was an idea Jack Fritz, a former secretary of the eryone could participate.” whose time had come. From that The horses come from the stables U.S. Equestrian Team. Fritz was alhumble beginning in 1967, the so a professor at the Madison, New of the various colleges involved and IHSA has grown to 400 colleges are drawn by lot, so no one has an Jersey, campus of Fairleigh Dickinand 10,000 students. Its National advantage. For the students who son, and his contacts in the horse Finals, celebrating the half-century world helped spur growth while he are in the same position as Cacchiof its existence, were held May 4-7 one was when he started the group, shared Cacchione’s vision. at the Kentucky Horse going to college no Park in Lexington. longer means having to The IHSA offers give up riding. competitive opportuIn addition, the nities for those who students experience haven’t shown or who working with a team are just starting to ride, and coaches, and have helping to expand the opportunity to the base of the sport. earn recognition that There are eight levels carries over after they of riding, from Open graduate. Some of them all the way down to go on to careers in the Walk-Trot. At the same equine industry. time, accomplished Among the recognizriders can vie for honable Cacchione Cup ors at their respective winners are Olympic levels and vie to win team gold medalist and Bob Cacchione gives Carol Finelli a leg up while Barbara the Cacchione Cup, Streeger looks on during an IHSA competition in 1969. continued IHSA Championship Special Issue



Time Flies: the IHSA Turns 50 continued World Equestrian Games individual show jumping bronze medalist Peter Wylde, as well as two-time Olympic show jumping team gold medalist Beezie Patton Madden.

The IHSA, which also includes a Western division as well as Hunt Seat, has inspired other disciplines to pursue similar efforts—though all are much smaller enterprises, including those in Dressage, Eventing and Saddleseat.

The IHSA has links with a wide variety of equestrian organizations, from the USHJA and the U.S. Equestrian Federation to the National Reining Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association. Cac-

What the IHSA Means to Past Participants The IHSA has impacted the lives of those who participate on their collegiate teams. For some, it offers a unique type of companionship and an introduction to teamwork. For others, it provides a stepping stone to bigger achievements in the horse world. Many simply value it as a way to keep riding (or learn to ride) as they enter a new phase of their lives and educations, where horses are important, but not the only focal point. Sarah Willeman “I was at Stanford University (California) when the riding program was being revitalized, and the most rewarding thing for me was helping with that,” recalled 2006 Cacchione Cup winner Sarah Willeman. Today, Willeman, who was a national Equitation champion as a junior, has a Connecticut farm and breeds reining horses in Texas. “I loved working with the team, helping riders of all levels with everything from jumping courses to body clipping to developing a feel for working a horse on the flat,” she continued. “I volunteered my time while also riding on the team. It was a wonderful opportunity to put to use all my years of training and help a motivated group of riders—from beginners on up. “The catch-riding format requires careful observation and quick adaptation once you’re on,” Willeman noted. “If you’ve studied the horses well during warm-ups, you can make a good plan—but you always have to be ready to adapt. And you often don’t have the tack or equipment you’d want. You just make the best of it; that’s part of the fun. “At first,” she recalled, “the Stanford team didn’t have riders for all divisions. Soon I found myself in borrowed chaps and a crystal-studded cowgirl shirt, heading into the ring for the Western Open classes. Ultra-slow cantering in the rail class was, I admit, not my cup of tea. But the reining was a blast, and I ended up getting involved in the larger sport of reining as a rider, owner and breeder. I have the Stanford team to thank for starting me on that path.” Lisa Roskens Stanford joined the IHSA after an effort led by sev26


eral students, including Lisa Roskens, now best known as the chairman of the Omaha Equestrian Foundation that hosted the successful 2017 FEI World Cup Finals. Roskens never actually rode in the IHSA; the school became a member after she graduated. But she coached the IHSA team during her second year at Stanford’s law school, when three riders qualified for Nationals. Roskens, who played rugby early in her college career because there was no equestrian team at the time, is a big believer in the benefits of the IHSA. “I think it serves two incredibly valuable purposes. It allows kids an opportunity to continue to do what they love, but in a way that’s more compatible with the demands of college and, to some degree, the financial constraints that the addition of a college tuition places on families,” she said. “The second thing is that it creates this team environment—everyone works together. It’s valuable, especially when a lot of our competitive world is about riding and not as much about working together with a group of people or taking care of your horses. It provides a window into a different way of participating in the sport.” Peter Wylde Peter Wylde, who won the ASPCA Maclay as a junior, rode with the IHSA when he attended Tufts University in Massachusetts and won the Cacchione Cup in 1986. “For me, it was fun, it was different, it was exciting and it opened my eyes to all the different levels of riding,” said Wylde, who trains out of Winley Farm in Millbrook, New York. “The Intercollegiate with beginner Walk-Trot really exposed me to a level of riding and the whole world of riding that I wasn’t ex-

IHSA Championship Special Issue

chione lent a hand to set up the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, which starts at sixth grade and runs through high school, in effect becoming a feeder organization for the IHSA. As the IHSA continues to

evolve, Cacchione sees the eight English Zone shows around the country getting stronger, along with the three semi-finals on the Western side. “They’re the last hurrah before you get to Nationals,” he said of

those competitions. Since only 450 riders qualify for Nationals, for most riders, the Zones and semi-finals are special events, and the IHSA is bringing sponsors down to those levels, “where they touch a lot more riders.”



posed to for many years. for extremely talented You quickly get away riders to shine without from that, and you forthe handicap of not havget about that world and ing the financial means,” how important it is to he said. the horse community. It gave me a really fantastic Heide Bossow-Casciaro perspective.” Heide Bossow-CasWhen he went to colciaro, who won the Caclege, Wylde promised chione Cup twice—in himself he wouldn’t go 1985 and 1987—bePeter Wylde received the Cacchione Cup from Marty and to horse shows the way came a professional and Anne Cacchione, Bob Cacchione’s parents and the trophy he had in high school. runs her Tievoli Farm namesakes. But the IHSA still en(“I love it” spelled backabled him to be involved with horses. “It allowed wards) in Woodstock, Illinois. When she wasn’t able me, as a club sport, to do some shows—but in a very to take her horse to Hollins College (now Hollins social way, with friends from my college. It was for University in Virginia), she found that through the me, [more like] trying to be part of college than being IHSA, she could continue the competitive riding in back in the riding world,” he said. which she had excelled during her junior years. She Wylde said that intercollegiate riding has expanded majored in business and economics but decided to tremendously since he participated. He saluted the go into the horse business when she discovered it increase in college-educated riders who can fill needed would pay more than the bank job for which she’d jobs in the horse industry, noting interviewed at graduation. “And that the IHSA is helping in that here I am, after 30 years,” she said. aspect. “The IHSA also gives kids The Cacchione Cup wasn’t as a chance to learn and shine, with visible in the years Bossow-Casciaan exposure to horses they otherro was riding under coaches Nanwise might not be able to afford. cy Peterson and Liz Courter as it It’s a way for a kid who wants to get is now. Still, she competed during somewhere in the horse world, but an era when there were many feels like there are a lot of closed big-name riders in the IHSA, indoors ... to get access to being able cluding Wylde, Madden and Greg to compete and ride,” he said. Best. “I was in good company,” she Wylde added that the Cacchione said with a smile. Cup is more prestigious than it was Bossow-Casciaro now gives back 30 years ago. It’s also more accessiby judging IHSA competitions. “I ble to young Equitation riders who try to support it in that manner, might not have the budget to comand for the kids going off to colpete in the USEF Medal or ASPCA lege, I encourage them to do the Maclay finals. “It’s a little like the IHSA,” she said. “Intercollegiate is USHJA Emerging Athletes Proa really good place for the college Heide Bossow-Casciaro with Bob gram. We want to give a platform kids to continue on and have fun.” Cacchione IHSA Championship Special Issue



Sophie Meserve, of the College of Charleston, describes her journey to the culminating show of the season at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.


ith more than 10,000 riders and 400 colleges in the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association, securing a place at the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championships isn’t a walk in the park. One sophomore tells us her story, where you’ll glimpse the dedication, hard work and emotions that all come into play as she rides for her team and vies for a national championship. 28


IHSA Championship Special Issue


The Road to the Nationals

Ten Minutes in the Ring By Sophie Meserve


Sophie Meserve rides Nica in the Team Intermediate Flat at IHSA Nationals. The thrill of accomplishment has always been a factor in my love for this sport. It’s everything from when you learned to trot on your own when you were 5 years old to the feeling when you land after your jump-off with no faults. Every time I sit in the saddle, I think about all the things I could achieve in just the short amount of time I’m in the tack. Growing up, riding was something I just did for fun. I come from a relatively large equestrian community in the Northeast, but I didn’t get into the “Big Eq” or show on the large A-rated circuits

as often as some of my teammates at the College of Charleston. I never cared about the “titles” people got from being in a big show barn or how often they’d get to show. What I cared about were the small accomplishments I made every day, just going to the barn and riding multiple horses. I didn’t own horses throughout my junior career; I leased horses and showed whatever horse I could get my hands on for that week. In my opinion, that’s what made me into the rider I’ve become. If you had told me two years ago that I would be competing IHSA Championship Special Issue

against the top 16 intercollegiate equestrian teams in the country, I wouldn’t have believed you. When I was in high school, riding in college wasn’t something I thought I could achieve. I toured more schools than I could count on my hands, but none caught my attention. With less than a month before decision day, I decided to look at a small college more than 1,000 miles away from my home. I hopped on a plane and made a quick two-day trip down to Charleston, South Carolina. I’d continued USHJA IN STRIDE / MAY 2017



Ten Minutes in the Ring continued only heard about its equestrian team by searching on Google: “top equestrian teams in US.” Clearly, my Google search that one afternoon ended up changing my life in the best way possible. The College of Charleston Equestrian Team is strictly a walkon program, meaning you only have a chance to ride in front of Coach Bob Story for 10 minutes. Then, he decides who is skilled enough to ride for his team. Let me tell you, it was the longest 10 minutes of my life and the most nerve-wracking. After receiving an email less than 20 minutes after leaving tryouts, I couldn’t believe what I was able to say: “I’m now a College of Charleston equestrian.” For the two months before IHSA Nationals, I was in the saddle more often than not. Bob had us riding six times a week to prepare for Zones and then Nationals. Not only was I riding with Bob, but I also board my own horse with Emily Hertz Chadwell in Charleston and train with her multiple times a week. Being able to ride twice a day on multiple horses really gave me that extra boost of confidence I needed before going to Nationals. Even though at Nationals I was only in the ring for 10 minutes, I felt like all the preparation I had by riding hours on end really paid off.

The College of Charleston secured its place at IHSA Nationals with the reserve title in Zone 5. As a flat rider, it’s hard to remember all the quirks and details of each horse when there are more than 30 going around the ring within a time span of 20 minutes. As a team, we usually dedicate one or two people to take notes on each horse, but I had a different plan this time. I wrote down the numbers of the horses that I

The minute I walked into the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, I was breathless. As it was my first time at Nationals, seeing this arena in person for the first time was amazing. When we arrived in Lexington on Tuesday after a grueling nine hours on the bus, we immediately went to watch the horses school. 30



Beyond Excited

“For the two months before IHSA Nationals, I was in the saddle more often than not,” said Sophie Meserve. IHSA Championship Special Issue

thought would suit my riding ability well. When schooling was over, I had a list the length of my paper, and a whole lot of teammates making fun of me over my “notes.” But when I looked down at the list, it gave me a sense of relaxation knowing if I thought I could ride this many horses well, I clearly deserved to be here. This was the first horse show that I wasn’t nervous going into; instead, I was beyond excited. Knowing how much work I’d put into just being there, I was ready to have my last ride of the season and simply enjoy it. I was in the last class of the day on Thursday, which meant hours and hours of sitting around and waiting to hear your draw being called over the loudspeaker. Once I got to the draw table, they sorted us by the third letter of our last name. As mine was “S,” I was toward the end of the line, or what I thought was the end. As it turned out, the line started at the end of the alphabet! We then chose a plastic duck out of the lazy river in which they were floating. I was third to pick, and, honestly, I don’t know if going early was good or bad. The moment I


Sophie Meserve said that every time she rides and trains, she focuses on all that she can achieve.

technique before any class, whether it’s a jump-off with my horse Paco or this flat class at Nationals. When I close my eyes, I go through every step of the class and visualize what I could be asked to do, from the sitting trot to having to show a lengthening of stride at the canter. I go through it step by step, and if there’s something I could see myself doing wrong, I back up and do it over again until I know it by heart. As I walked into the ring, I took a deep breath and looked around to find that perfect spot to settle in and wait for the class to begin. Bob has always said to us the key to being able to win a flat class is the ability to manage the ring.


walked up to the table, I had my eye on this one duck in the corner. When I grabbed it, I checked it and immediately looked at the white board to see which horse I had chosen. It was Nica. Knowing the name of your horse doesn’t really tell you anything unless you happen to draw a horse you know or have ridden before. What matters is the Horse Description Sheet, a piece of paper with five words describing this horse: keep balanced, can get heavy. I immediately asked my teammates, “What’s her number, and where is my list of horses that I made Tuesday morning?” I scanned the list I’d made, and there was her number, “12.” As I went down to the mounting area, I told myself over and over again that I’ve done this hundreds of times. I could flat a horse in my sleep at this point. All I knew about Nica was she was a big, gray mare with the number “12” on her bridle. As I walked up to her, I had my whole routine in my head. I went over and patted her face, adjusted my stirrups and looked for a mounting block. Once I was on, Bob looked at me and said the exact same thing he’d been telling me since I’ve been showing with him: “Go out there and show them your stuff.” It’s that one line that makes me realize I can do this, and I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t able to compete with the best in the country.

One of Them As I waited to be called to the ring, I closed my eyes and pictured my ride. I use this visualization

Sophie Meserve with her horse Paco IHSA Championship Special Issue

When I went around, that’s what I focused on. At this point, I didn’t think about my position as much as where I was in the ring. It was all about good passes and being able to stay alone so I could get noticed. The first time we went around, I could feel myself get tense and too stiff. But as I passed our team table by the rail, I glanced over and saw my teammates holding the thumbsup sign. I immediately relaxed. I’ve done this so many times, and now that I’d reached the highest level, I needed to enjoy it. After the class, we dismounted, gave our horses to the handlers, and waited in line for the placings to be announced. All I wanted was to be in the top six. In the grand scheme, I’m here to represent my 34 other teammates back in Charleston, and I wouldn’t be here without them. By being in the top six, I would be able to add points to the board to help our team make it to the top, and that’s why I was there. When I heard my number called, I couldn’t help but smile. I’d placed sixth. As I walked up to Bob Cacchione, he looked at me and said, “The stress is all gone now. Relax and enjoy it. You did great.” continued USHJA IN STRIDE / MAY 2017


“The IHSA has given me the opportunity to show against some of the best riders in the country,” said Sophie Meserve.


I could have received. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if Bob Story hadn’t given me the opportunities that he has over the past two years. Now that this year is over, I’m proud to look back and smile at how far I’ve come as a rider in just these past eight months. Now, I can only look ahead and see what my next two years as an IHSA rider are going to bring me, and hope I enjoy them as much as this year.

Sophie Meserve, 20, is from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and attends the College of Charleston (South Carolina) where she’s majoring in exercise science with a minor in psychology. She shows her horse Paco in the Low Adult Jumpers. Riding wasn’t her focus in high school; she played volleyball. After a career-ending shoulder injury, she decided to follow her passion of riding. She hopes to continue riding after college and plans a career in the horse industry.


Ten Minutes in the Ring continued And I did exactly that. As I walked out of the ring, I looked straight at my coach Bob, and he looked at me, gave me a hug and said, “I’m so proud of you.” It’s moments like that that make me realize why I love this sport. I went into the ring at IHSA Nationals and did the exact same thing I’d been doing for the past 15 years. That was to ride to achieve, to accomplish something within that 10 minutes I was in the ring—which I did by finishing sixth in the Collegiate Cup Team Intermediate Flat. The IHSA has given me the opportunity to show against some of the best riders in the country, and it allows me to feel like I’m one of them. At the end of the day, I’m so happy with how our team finished overall. We placed sixth out of 16 teams, and, to us, that was what we’d been working toward all season. Being given the chance to ride at Nationals—to represent my team—was one of the biggest gifts



IHSA Championship Special Issue

“Being given the chance to ride at Nationals—to represent my team—was one of the biggest gifts I could have received,” said Sophie Meserve.

IHSA Nationals—Through a Student’s Lens

day 1

By Alex Varisco

IHSA riders line up for the draw

Shelby Keefe holds a Centenary University horse in the holding pen.

Bob Cacchione and Peggy McElveen of St. Andrews University, the IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Sabrina Vlacich after her winning round on Gunner from Skidmore College in the Individual Intermediate Over Fences Division University of British Columbia Rider Natalie Nahirney hugs IHSA Executive Director Bob Cacchione. continued

Melissa Dander from Sacred Heart University watches other riders on course. IHSA Championship Special Issue



IHSA Nationals—Student’s Lens continued

Louisiana State University students before the draw: Sydney Cottingham, left, Walk-Trot-Canter rider; Samantha Vogt, right, Walk-Trot rider

day 2

The IHSA Nationals “Duck Pond” draw table

Allison Pelzel from Colorado School of Mines hugs her mount after her round in the USEF/Cacchione Cup.

IHSA 50th anniversary medals and the USEF Cacchione Cup 34


IHSA Championship Special Issue

Savannah College of Art and Design’s Maddie Albano cleans a team member’s boots before she enters the ring.

Savannah Mannes kisses Cazenovia College’s Leo in the holding pen.

United States Military Academy team member Taylor Krug holding her school’s horse Hamlet

Lauren Henry, of the University of Rhode Island, after placing second in the USEF Cacchione Cup

day 3 Show volunteers Kaleigh Ierton and Erica Thewes pause for a picture.

Centenary University rider Katherine Steiner hugging loved ones after winning the USEF/Cacchione Cup

Billie Henard with Donny from Emory & Henry College. Billie was in charge of caring for and schooling Donny at the competition.

Savannah College of Art and Design team members standing with the SCAD barn manager’s dog, Lola IHSA Championship Special Issue

Alex Varisco, 21, is from Covington, Louisiana. She’s a rising senior at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, majoring in communications with a minor in equine business. She’s been riding competitively since age 5, showing in the Hunter/Jumper, Dressage and Eventing worlds. She’s currently a collegiate equestrian, riding on the St. Andrews University Hunt Seat and Dressage teams. She would like to combine her passions for writing and riding and pursue equine journalism as a future career. “Photography has been one of my favorite hobbies since high school, and I would like to continue gaining experience in equine photography,” said Varisco. “I enjoy taking pictures of my teammates riding so they can cherish the memories they make in their collegiate careers for the rest of their lives. There’s nothing more rewarding than capturing those perfect moments of horse and rider on camera—moments that depict our love for the sport and the horses we dedicate our lives to.” USHJA IN STRIDE / MAY 2017


Profile for Active Interest Media-Boulder

Ushja - In Stride : May 2017  

This issue of USHJA In Stride magazine focuses on the 50th Anniversary of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association and the 2017 IHSA Nati...

Ushja - In Stride : May 2017  

This issue of USHJA In Stride magazine focuses on the 50th Anniversary of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association and the 2017 IHSA Nati...