The Foothills Nature Equestrian Center (FENCE) boasted one of the largest collegiate team challenges to date last weekend at their April FENCE Horse Trials with 12 teams made of 33 students going head-to-head for top honors.
It was University of Kentucky (UK) who ultimately earned the win with their UK White team. Made up of riders Taylor Pence, Rachel Kiczuk, Adrienne Watts and Claire Rowlands, the quartet lead the challenge wire-to-wire finishing on a final team score of 92.43.
Pence finished seventh in the open training division with Angela Sallee’s Jettatore, a 13-year-old Quarter Horse. They earned a personal best on the flat (30.7) before having one pole down and 5.2 time penalties on the cross-country to end on 39.9. Kiczuk had a successful weekend with her own The African Queen, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred (Formula One x Irish lance). The pair finished on their dressage score (34.3) for fourth in the Open Training, a great addition for the UK White Team.
UK riders Claire Rowlands, Taylor Pence and Rachel Kiczuk. Photo courtesy of Kiczuk.
“Our dressage wasn't the best, she tensed up since I warmed her up for too long and I also had an error since I initially turned the wrong way down the center line. We did receive a few eights which I was very happy with. For the jumping phases she was the best she's ever been and we went double clear both on cross-country and in stadium. We're looking to move up to prelim now in the near future,” Kiczuk commented.
“Being on the team really means a lot to me,” she continued. “We all work together and help each other out all weekend. We went out to dinner every night together and most of us stayed in the same house as well. We always had a group out to cheer everyone on. Having won just made the weekend even better and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of such a great team.”
Watts and her own 9-year-old Thoroughbred (Tekken x Antagonist) had a smashing 32.4 from the dressage, but unfortunately did not finish the cross-country after incurring refusals. The final member of this team, Rowlands and her own Category 5 ended first in the Open Training division which made her the top individual collegiate rider as well. She and the 11-year-old Thoroughbred added just one pole in the show jumping to finish on a score of 28.5.
Photo via University of Georgia Eventing's Facebook Page.
While, UK snagged the win, they were closely followed by the University of Georgia (UGA) Red Team who landed in second place just 0.28 points behind the victors. The three-member team of Jessica Simons & Lady, Emily Cardin & Schwalbestrum and Hannah Ackerman and King’s Ransome managed without a drop score to end the weekend with a cumulative score of 92.71.
“We were really pleased with our team's performance this past weekend at FENCE. UGA sent six girls and took a bit of a gamble by sending two teams without drop scores,” sophomore member Emily Cardin said. “All of our members who finished the event jumped double clear, with freshman Hannah Ackerman and her horse King's Ransom stealing the show and finishing on a 27 in the Open Novice! We have a few things to polish up to shave a few more points off of our team scores, but we are prepared and excited to return to College Champs at Virginia! UGA will be sending two full teams and possibly some girls for a scramble team. And of course, we're coming for that spirit award again!”
UK continued their dominance by picking up third place with their second team, UK Blue. Mia Fox & Sport Tracker, Elizabeth Silva-Chandley & Lillith, Anatasia Vialov & Vow of Honor and Katherine Johnson and Meadow Brook Quasar earned a team mark of 96.6.
Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.
Many of these schools have their eyes next on the second annual USEA Intercollegiate Championships, which will be held at the Virginia Horse Trials May 25-28, 2017. All affiliated schools are encouraged to send a team, and if a full team cannot be made, scramble team coordination will be available. For more information, click here.