Geneseo’s equestrian team kicked off its season on Saturday Oct. 25 with a showcase at Leg Up Stables’ brand new indoor ring. Geneseo will host two events this year out of eight total. Ten different schools throughout the region compete, including St. Lawrence University and Cazenovia College, two of the nation’s best teams.
One of the team’s captains, senior Anna Eschler, has high hopes for the equestrian team’s coming seasons.
“Our region is arguably the most difficult in the nation because we have both St. Lawrence and Cazenovia and they’re both top tier,” she said. “But we’re closing the gap recently. We’ve always been a strong third place team, but we’ve been getting really close in points to Cazenovia lately.”
While Geneseo’s team hasn’t made it to nationals, riders have attended as individuals.
The showcases have four divisions, three of which involve fences and the last is flat. Open Division is first, which has fences roughly three feet high. Following that are Intermediate and Novice, each with respectively lower heights. Then there is the Flat Division, where there are no fences but riders are judged on walk, trot and canter.
“Each rider qualifies for that with their experience prior to riding for the team,” Eschler said. “We have one Open rider, [junior] Rebecca Caracciolo, and we have two girls, [seniors] Emily Lockard and Ashley Olin who compete at the Intermediate level.”
Interestingly, every division sees a random draw from a pool of entered horses. This means that a rider may have to ride a horse they’ve never ridden before. The team can enter horses that match the caliber of their riders.
A major benefit for the team is that head coach Kim Sanford owns Leg Up Stables, which has 70 horses.
“We have access to all of them,” Eschler said. “There are a wide array of horses that require different levels of skill and it’s such a benefit to the team to have so many horses to learn from.”
Geneseo equestrian team’s next showcase is on Saturday Nov. 1 at Leg Up Stables, starting at 9 a.m.