The Bloomsburg University Equestrian Team (BUET) attended its first horse show competition at Briarwood Stables in Readington NJ, on September 27th taking 8th place overall as a team.
The show, co-hosted by East Stroudsburg University and Wilkes University, began early Saturday morning with jumping classes. Due to the brisk and windy conditions, a few of the provided horses were acting frisky. One rider even lost her balance, and fell off of her horse just as she was finishing the course. Another rider had a horse refuse a particular jump three times, causing her to be disqualified.
With no BUET members in upper-division classes, Bloomsburg struggled at the first show, but members look forward to gaining more points and doing better and upcoming competitions. When asked how Bloomsburg did overall, Amie Wolfinger, the team’s coach of three years, said, “Since we don’t have anyone in intermediate or open classes, there’s no point to find out how we did.”
But this fact hardly seemed to faze the BUET members. Each rider, shaken with nerves, were looking forward to their own classes, and determined to place well. When the horse a rider was assigned to was being ridden in a class before theirs, each girl watched intensively to learn the horse’s behavior. This allows a rider to know a horse’s tricks and allows them to attempt a better ride. Some of the members watched the judge’s habits, noticing where she was not looking so the rider could plan where to adjust in the show ring. By the end of the day, three team members achieved 1st place, and two members we able to move up to an advancing level.
According to Julia Cranny, former BUET president and Bloomsburg University student, BUET was established around 1994 and has been competing with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) for about 12 years. Currently the team has of 39 students, including 13 officers. The team also has one faculty advisor, Deb Barnes, and already mentioned coach, Amie Wolfinger.
As the day slowly moved on, riders anticipated their class, and got dressed and ready hours before they were to compete. Team member Jenna Novotni states, “It’s better to be ready earlier, rather than later.”
When a member competed in a class, the team would encourage the rider. The team’s English captain, Sonia Kudalsky, says, “I enjoy cheering on my team at shows and sharing riding tips! It is very important to be very sportsman-like and respectful at shows.” In order to show good sportsmanship at these shows, slander among competing schools is rarely heard. Surprisingly, positive comments are said about the other competing riders.
By the end of a long and tiring day, riders piled into their respective vehicles, and chattered about the successes, or failures, of the competition that day. With hopeful attitudes, riders plan to attend and achieve better scores at upcoming horse shows. This busy but entertaining day is a typical weekend for an equestrian involved with horse show competitions.
Members train with Amie Wolfinger once a week at Ridge Road Stable in Bloomsburg. Each member has the choice to learn Western or English, but the team has an overwhelmingly amount of English riders. Members do not have to participate in the shows, but when Bloomsburg is the hosting school, it is mandatory for each member to attend. This year’s hosted show will be November 2, 2008.
For further information about the Bloomsburg University Equestrian Team, check out the website at: