Riding Dominates in Final Regular Season Show

All of Sunday's blue ribbon winners from the UMass/Hampshire Show
All of Sunday's blue ribbon winners from the UMass/Hampshire Show

AMHERST, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College riding team was back in action on Sunday, putting forth a stellar performance at the UMass/ Hampshire College horse show, which was the final regular season show of the year. The Lyons posted 42 points on the day to capture their seventh victory of 2016-17.

The day began with two sections of open fences, which saw three beautiful trips. In the first section, senior Cam Carter put in a lovely ride to win the first blue ribbon of the day. The second section saw additional solid trips to earn junior Mollie Kowalchik and senior Bridget Finnerty first and second, respectively.

Intermediate fences followed with three sections. The first split saw a great effort from senior Allee Platanitis for third place. In the second section, junior Taryn Isenburg and senior Sarah Felman also put in solid rides to post first and third, respectively. Junior Maddy Skrak wrapped up the division with an outstanding ride for first place in the final split. 

The novice riders concluded the jumping portion of the day with additional strong rides. First in the ring was junior Anna Rzchowski, who put in a beautiful round for first place. In the second section, senior Ellie Demmons and first year Katerina Alvarez also had lovely trips to pin first and fifth, respectively. First years Indra Rapinchuk-Souccar and Emy McLaughlin rounded out the division with beautiful rides to post second and fourth, respectively, in the final split.

After a brief break for flat schooling, three sections of advanced walk trot canter entered the ring. In the first section, sophomore Tess Ahlers and first year Abby Watkins rode well to post fifth and sixth, respectively. The second section saw a stunning ride from senior Regina Brecha for the blue ribbon. In the final section, sophomore Maggie Stuart and first year Christa Berry put in solid rides for third and fourth, respectively. 

Action then moved next into two sections of open flat, the first of which saw a stunning ride from Carter, who unfortunately finished outside of the ribbons. In the second section, Finnerty also rode beautifully to post second.

Two sections of novice flat entered the ring next. In the first split, sophomore Rachael Fulop rode well to a fourth place finish. The second section saw a well ridden ride from Alvarez on a tough draw for sixth place. 

Intermediate flat broke up the novice flat splits, and Mount Holyoke saw two strong rides in the division. The first came from Rzchowski for a third place finish, and the second from Isenburg to post second.

The Lyons wrapped up the novice flat division with three rides. The first came from McLaughlin, who put in a beautiful ride on a tougher draw for second place. Junior Sabrina Fox and sophomore Avery Hanlon wrapped up the division with strong rides to post first and sixth, respectively in the second split. 

Mount Holyoke saw a slew of strong rides in the walk trot division, which entered the ring next in three sections. The first section saw a lovely ride from first year Sesil Lee for third place. In the second section, first years Hanye Chen and Doris Wang had beautiful rides to finish one-two. The final section saw a repeat of these results, this time with beautiful rides from sophomore Karen Dong and first year Honami Tanaka.

Sophomore Alexandra Friedman wrapped up the day with a beautiful ride in beginner walk trot canter, where she finished in third place. 

At the end of the day, Isenburg was called back to the ring for a ride off for the overall high point title. After a brief series of tests, she was named overall high point rider and intermediate high point rider.

Mount Holyoke College finished the day in first place with 42 points. Team results are as follows:

1.) Mount Holyoke College- 42
2.) Westfield State University - 29
3.) Smith College - 27
4.) UMass Amherst - 19
5.) Amherst College - 18
5.) Hampshire College - 18
7.) Bennington College - 18
8.) Williams College - 13
9.) Springfield College - 11

Congratulations are in order for the following riders, who qualified for regionals today:

-Regina Brecha, Walk Trot Canter, Ellie Demmons, Novice Fences, Anna Rzchowski, Novice Fences and Allee Platanitis, Intermediate Fences

Mount Holyoke concluded the season on top of the region with a total of 323 points, followed by Smith College with 234 points. The college will be represented by eight team riders at zones, taking place at Mount Holyoke on April 8th, to compete against the top teams from the other four regions in Zone 1 for a chance to advance to nationals.

Additionally, MHC will see 22 rides from 17 individual qualifiers at regionals, taking place at Biscuit Hill Farm on Saturday, April 1st. Riders advancing from regionals will also compete at zones as individual qualifiers.

Special congratulations to Finnerty, who finished the season as the high point rider in the region. She will advance to nationals to compete in the Cacchione Cup. Additional congratulations to first year Franny Eremeeva for finishing as the region's reserve high point rider.

Photos courtesy of MHC Riding. Show story courtesy of Taryn Isenburg, MHC rider & team manager.