It's a very busy time of year for the IEA team, which not only has shows on three consecutive weekends, but hosted one of those shows this past Saturday.
On Saturday, October 30 the team traveled to Biscuit Hill Farm in Shelburne, Mass. for Hopkins Academy's show. The team made a strong showing in all events, but key wins from Kelly in Open Flat and Leira in Beginner Flat allowed the team to cinch a second place victory. On the following Saturday, November 6, the team hosted their IEA show right here at SBS. Four other teams from Mount Holyoke, Hopkins Academy, King Oaks Farm, and Friendship Fields Farm travelled to our campus for the competition.
The show ran very smoothly despite the fact that home shows always seem tougher than away shows for many reasons. In the IEA, riders compete on strange horses provided by the hosting team. This means that the host team has the added stress of preparing and caring for all the horses needed for the day, as well as their normal focus on the classes in which they will be competing. Besides the horses, the team hosting is also responsible for running every aspect of the horse show, from in gate to jump crew to food. SBS's IEA team is very fortunate to have all the full time riders who volunteer so much time to help run the show and care for the horses.
Another stress of hosting a show is the added pressure in regards to horse draw. At a rider’s home show she knows and has ridden the horses provided. This can benefit the rider because she is able to ride a horse that she will be at least somewhat familiar with, but at the same time it can add significant pressure. From my years riding in IHSA I know the types of worries that can plague a rider: "I'm riding my team's own horses; I have no excuse not to ride well. Oh no! What if I do have a bad ride or miss a distance? I'm on my team's own horses! There's no reason for that! I'll really let my team down. I'll look foolish, etc. etc. etc." When you have the opportunity to ride familiar horses at a show, there's the benefit that you know them, but the challenge that sometimes you worry more about your performance with those horses than riding a strange horse at another team's show.
Despite the inherent difficulties in hosting an IEA show, the team gave an amazing performance this past Saturday. Our riders dominated in the ring and most finished within the top three of their class. Tess in her Open Fences, Callan in her Open Flat, and Alissa in her Novice Flat all won blue ribbons and overall the team truly performed very well. SBS not only won the show, but they did so with a margin of 14 points, cinching their place to compete in regionals later this season!
And now, this coming Sunday, November 14, we go straight into our fourth show of the season, which is hosted by Folly Farm in Simsbury, Conn. We are heading into the show with excellent momentum and I know that the girls will continue work their hardest and put in great performances.
Also this weekend, SBS will be holding a Hunter/Jumper show on Saturday. Many of our girls will be competing at this show, as well as many other riders from the local area and I look forward to seeing both new and familiar faces.