The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian Team participated in six shows over the past three weekends, proving its strength through multiple individuals’ success in both western and hunt seat disciplines.
The western riding discipline emphasizes the ability to follow a pattern while maintaining composure and control. Higher-level western riders may also compete in reining, in which they must accelerate swiftly, then come to an abrupt halt.
Hunt seat riders, however, compete in two different types of riding. One type emphasizes the ability to ride at various speeds while maintaining composure and control. The second type emphasizes completion of a hurdle course while maintaining speed and composure without knocking any hurdles over.
Both types of riders have been able to compete in shows over the past three weekends.
The western team competed Sept. 21 and 22, whereas the hunt seat team competed Sept. 28 and 29 and Oct. 5 and 6.
The western team commenced the season with an excellent showing and poised themselves for a successful year.
“For the western team sometimes it’s a little harder because the other schools are huge, but they had some really good rounds, those girls got some great placings,” captain and coach of the teams Megan Johnson said.
“Keep an eye out for us, we got a lot of people who are up for the running of regionals. For us, it’s a pretty big deal being a small team,” Co-Captain of the western team Samantha Guderman said.
Following the western team, the hunt seat team also established its season with high marks and a hearty beginning.
The first weekend resulted in multiple first-places alongside plenty of other high rankings. For many riders, this was their first time showing in hunt seat; for some, their first time showing in general.
The second weekend procured more outstanding results. Freshman Ashley Carns, who had not shown horses before, placed first in her division, and Megan Johnson received the Sportsmanship Award as the coach.
The biggest news lies in a momentous first for the entire UW-Platteville IHSA: the hunt seat team will co-host the club’s very first IHSA show on Feb 1 and 2, 2020.
This would have been impossible only a few years ago.
Two years ago, each discipline consisted of five riders. Last year, each discipline grew to about ten each. This year, the club has reached its largest gathering of riders with each discipline built of around twenty participants.
Maya Kramer, co-captain of the western team, exhibits the magic of the club when helping newcomers.
“I joined IHSA to go try something new. I ended up falling in love with the sport and have committed much of my time trying to better my riding.” Kramer continued, “My favorite part about being on the team is creating relationships with my teammates, coaches and the horses.”
The organization is open to all students of any ability, gender and financial status. With drastically reduced costs of lessons, weekly practices and deep camaraderie, any to-be rider can become an experienced one.