SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (Apr. 27, 2013) - The Mount Holyoke College dressage team came away with the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Championship title in a nail biting finish on Saturday at the MHC Equestrian Center. Johnson & Wales University finished second, while Delaware Valley College rounded out the top three.
With the victory, Mount Holyoke's competing riders each won a saddle from Custom Saddlery, a "National Champion" jacket from Besco embroidery, and engraved halters from Perri's Leather. Our coach, Dee Loveless, won a double bridle from Schneider's Saddlery. The squad also won a RevitaVet therapy system for the school horses.
Sophomore Taylor Dickinson (pictured on front page) started the day off right by winning first level aboard "True Type," a horse brought by Johnson & Wales University. Her beautiful ride scored an average of 72.635%. Dickinson was also reserve high point rider of the day, for which she won a saddle pad and a SmartPak gift card.
Senior captain Rachel Berlage was fourth with Mount Holyoke's very own "Diva" in the Upper Training division. They earned an average of 66.900%. Diva, a horse who is now a veteran of two nationals champion teams (also in 2008) was a key factor in Saturday's victory.
Junior Carey Lang was next up in the Lower Training division. She rode "Edee," another Mount Holyoke horse, to sixth place with an average of 64.480%. This was Lang's second nationals for Mount Holyoke. Her excellent ride on Edee solidified our contention for the national title going into the last class of the day.
Junior Emily Murch was our Introductory division rider. These results were not posted until the awards ceremony so with many teams in contention for the first place title, we were all on pins and needles waiting for the result of Murch's test. She rode Mount Holyoke's very own "Charles" to third place with an average of 70.001%.
The combined points for these rides earned Mount Holyoke the national title. This is Mount Holyoke's fifth IDA championship win, more than any other school in the league. They previously took home the Championship Beukema trophy in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2008.
Action at the IDA Nationals continued on Sunday as first years Alexandra Ackert-Smith (Lower Training) and Chrysanthi Mayor (Introductory) competed for individual titles. Ackert-Smith finished ninth overall in lower training on a horse named Braeburn, while Mayor was ninth in introductory after riding MHC's own horse, Roo.
Recap courtesy of Rachel Berlage, Mount Holyoke Dressage captain. Photos courtesy of Izzy Bisese Photography.