With the start of the spring season comes the resurgence of USEA Intercollegiate Program competitions in 2016. The first of these took place at the Poplar Place Farm March H.T. in Hamilton, Ga. last weekend. Students bring a unique excitement to these collegiate challenges radiating school spirit across the venue. Last weekend Poplar Place Farm was adorned with banners, color-coordinated cross-country gear, and cheers from each school.
This challenge fielded six teams from six represented colleges and universities including Auburn University, University of Georgia, University of Alabama, Transylvania University, Mississippi State University and Columbus State University (who was the hosting school).
UGA Team members. Bethany Beres Photo.
University of Georgia (UGA) won this challenge with a four-person team made of Katie Harvel & Counterpoint, Emily Cox & FR’s Check It Out Now, Johannah Crumpton & Tip Share and Whitney Granberry & Caraway Pippa. The team won by having the lowest combined score of the weekend a 115.10.
UGA team member Emily Cox was also the Reserve Champion for the individual collegiate standings. Cox and “Billy,” a 7-year-old Thoroughbred, added only one rail to their dressage score in the Training division.
“Billy went above and beyond what I expected and delivered his best performance in each phase. For him to come out at his second training and be third after dressage and cross-country in an open division competing against professionals exceeded all my expectations. He’s such a cool horse and truly loves his job. We were leading the collegiate challenge going into stadium, but one rail - due to rider error - dropped us out of the leading spot. Despite that, I couldn’t be happier with him this weekend. Being on this team has encouraged me to work harder on my horse and myself than ever before and for it to all come together to help bring the team a win this weekend was very rewarding,” Cox said.
Ride Tide Ride
The University of Alabama (UA) finished in second place less than two points behind UGA. The team was made up of Caitlin Cobb & Gacela de la Noche, Meagan Majchzak & Imperial’s Catch, Angela Lenning & Alphanumeric and Sarah Wietbrock & Kickstart My Heart.
UA Team members (from left) Caitlin Cobb, Meagan Majchszak, Sarah Wietbrock and Angela Lenning. Photo Courtesy of UA Eventing.
“We had such a fun weekend with our horses, teammates and families. Everyone put in three solid, confident rides, and the horses all went great. We are going to work hard in the next two weeks to bring our “A” game to Chattahoochee Hills Collegiate Challenge and hopefully have a winning team,” said UA Team President Meagan Majchszak. “It is wonderful how our team has grown, and we have all become better riders and horsewomen by participating in team clinics and working together. Riding on a team is an experience that not many people get to have, and I feel so lucky to have this opportunity!"
Erin Chalmers and Light the Lights. Jewel Patterson Photo.
The Individual champions of the weekend were Freshman Erin Chalmers and Light the Lights, a 10-year-old Friesian/Trakehner gelding. The pair rode for fourth placed Columbus State University (CSU) and finished on their dressage score of 30.90 in the Novice Rider division. Despite an error in her test, Chalmers was still sitting right outside of first place after dressage. She rode through the blip and pushed forward into the lead after two double clear jump rounds.
Chalmers was one of the many students competing who works hard to manage the riding, working and class balance. “I work at my barn to offset boarding costs, and sometimes I don't get to ride if barn chores keep me too busy alongside homework and other items on my agenda. I really enjoy the group lessons [with Coach Werner Geven] as I do not get to take any regular lessons otherwise, and this weekend I can tell that they have paid off!” Chalmers said. “I felt unprepared, but Eli is a saint in disguise. Eli felt very rideable and responsive. We had one of our best stadium rounds to date!”
Owners and organizers Donna and Gary Stegman worked tirelessly throughout the weekend to put on another successful collegiate challenge for the students. Riders names were announced along with their school before each ride, and everyone could follow along as collegiate competitors were listed on the live scores. These things strengthen the collegiate eventing experience and continue to make Poplar Place Farm a destination event for students.
Click here for the complete collegiate results
About the USEA Intercollegiate Program
In 2014, the USEA Board of Governors approved the creation of the Intercollegiate Eventing Program as an official program of the USEA. Originally proposed with input from the Intercollegiate Eventing League, the program was established to provide a framework on which Eventing teams and individual competition could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. Click here to see if your school is an University Affiliate.
Don’t forget if you have not yet renewed your membership with the USEA – Collegiate members get a $25 discount! Log onto your Online Services Account to renew, and a $25 refund will be issued after the USEA has received proof of enrollment.
It’s been 13 years since an American has stood atop the podium at a five-star event, but Boyd Martin broke the dry spell today with the Turner Family’s 15-year-old Anglo European mare On Cue (Cabri D’Elle x On High) as the winners of the first-ever Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. It was a thrilling down-to-the-wire finish where Martin and On Cue climbed from third to first to take home champion honors with just .01 points between him and second-place finisher and weekend-long leader Oliver Townend.
Following yesterday’s downpour, the temperatures for the final jog this morning were brisk but the CCI5*-L horses remained professional for the last horse inspection leading into show jumping later today. Of the 35 pairs set to move forward with the final phase of competition, only 34 presented to judges Angela Tucker (GBR), Martin Plewa (GER), and Mark Weissbecker after Lisa Marie Fergusson opted not to bring forward her own 15-year-old Welsh/Thoroughbred gelding (Brynarian Brennin x Dream Contessa) Honor Me.
After a jam-packed week, the final day of competition at the Maryland 5 Star is upon us. Riders have shown off their style in the horse inspection, danced their way down the centerline in dressage, and contested some serious obstacles in cross-country up until this point. Now it's time to demonstrate the fitness and accuracy that each horse possesses in the final phase: show jumping.
It was a great day of cross-country riding at the Maryland 5 Star. There were 35 horses who crossed the finish and 11 of those finished double clear. With British, French, New Zealand, Canadian, and American riders coming through the finish flags – it was a true world class competition. The USEA was at the finish to see what the riders thought of the very first Maryland 5 Star cross-country track designed by Ian Stark.