Equestrian enjoys strong start to season

The Geneseo Equestrian Team has started off its third year as a varsity team very strongly. They have competed in three shows so far, where several women won first, second and third place ribbons.

Their first show occurred on Saturday, Oct. 28, and was hosted by RIT. The women rode exceptionally well at this show and won first place overall. In addition, senior Leslie Miller, who received two first-places, was awarded the recognition of "high point rider," meaning she was the best rider of the day. Close behind was sophomore Katie Heishman, who also received two first-places, and was awarded "reserve high point rider." Junior Christina Szalinski also received a first place ribbon at this show. Second place riders were senior Katie Marshall and sophomore Elena Kurz. Third place riders were sophomore Liz Barone and juniors Sam Cannon, Kelly Nelson, and Christina Szalinski.

On Sunday, Oct. 29, the team hosted the second show of the season and was fifth overall. Once again many top places were won. First place ribbons were received by Barone, junior Christina Trimarchi, and Cannon. Second place ribbons were won by Marshall, freshman Katie Rook, Trimarchi, junior Jess Iwachiw, and Kurz. Third place ribbons were awarded to junior Michelle Cummings, Marshall, Miller, Szalinski, and senior Kari Washak. It was Geneseo's second time ever running an intercollegiate equestrian competition.

The team's third show, hosted by Nazareth College on Saturday, Nov. 18, was another success in which the women won many top place ribbons and the team overall tied for fourth place. First place ribbons were received by Barone and Marshall. Second places were awarded to Heishman, junior Katelyn Wood, and Trimarchi. Third place ribbons were given to sophomore Cassie Brown, Miller, and Washak.

The women have been very successful so far this season as a team as well as individually. Three riders including Heishman, Barone, and Washak, even qualified to go to regionals this year.

Equestrian competitions are not like many other competitive sports, it is not one team against another. Each team member competes in her designated level, which is largely determined by her previous horse show experience. There are eight competitions this year, hosted by the different competing teams. In the region, there are about 15 equestrian teams, including Cazenovia College, Saint Lawrence University, RIT, University of Rochester, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Oswego, and even some Canadian teams like the University of Trent.

There are different levels at which the riders can compete, including open, novice, and intermediate, who show in both over fences and flat classes. The other levels are flat levels, which are advanced and beginner walk, trot, canter and walk trot. The horses that are to be ridden during competitions are selected by a random "draw." The hosting school provides the majority of these horses. Due to the random selection, it is more than likely that the competitor has never ridden on that particular horse before. The judge assesses each competitor based on her ability to ride and control the horse.

The winning team is determined by the accumulation of points earned from the different places each point rider wins. First place is seven points, second is five, third is four and so on. The "point rider" is one rider chosen by the coach before draws are announced from each level or division - one for flat and one for over fences.

The team has five more competitions this season, ending in the Spring. The team never stops preparing for these competitions. Each rider has two lessons per week and at least two other rides in addition. The team has two upcoming shows, one this Saturday, Dec. 2, hosted by St. Lawrence University, and next Saturday, Dec. 9, hosted by Cazenovia College.