Equestrian Struts Its Stuff At Regional ChampionshipBy Jenny Lee
Last Saturday, the MIT equestrian team headed down to Holly Hill Show Stable in Hanover, Massachusetts for the final regular competition of the spring season, hosted by Boston University. Despite chilly temperatures and the presence of only five team members, everyone put in a good effort and performed well.
Kristen E. Landino ’02 placed fifth in her open over fences class, which gave her enough points to qualify for Regionals. Also competing in open over fences was Kathryn A. Luke ’04, who won sixth place. Jenny J. Lee ’02 clinched a blue ribbon and simultaneously qualified for the Regionals competition with a brilliant ride in her intermediate over fences class on the aptly named horse, Dream.
The flat phase of the competition began in the afternoon. Luke had an unfortunate horse draw, but still performed well enough to place fifth in her open equitation class and qualified for Regionals. Landino also won fifth place in open equitation. Sara Etemadi ’01 had a nice ride and placed third in the novice equitation division. Competing in the beginner walk-trot-canter category was Diana S. Cheng ’03, who won her class with a stunning performance.
The Regionals competition took place the next day at the same location. Only those riders who had attained a minimum point requirement competed at Regionals. This was only the third year in which the team had members qualify. Ironically, the very five team members who had competed the day before all qualified to ride in this year’s competition, the largest turnout ever for the MIT equestrians.
The drizzling rain stopped just in time to give the riders a chance to compete under relatively dry but overcast skies. Landino drew a difficult horse and placed sixth in the extremely competitive open over fences division. Equally competitive was the open equitation category, in which Luke gave an excellent performance and placed a very respectable fourth. Etemadi rode well but did not place in the advanced walk-trot-canter division, which was so big, it had to be divided into three heats. In the walk-trot category, Cheng gave a good effort but likewise did not place.
Lee once again drew Dream in the random horse lottery and had a solid round in the intermediate over fences division. She was one of three competitors chosen out of a field of 10 to take part in a ride-off. These three riders were asked to jump three fences, one at a time. Despite botching the last jump, Lee placed second, qualifying her for the Zones competition. Lee is the first MIT equestrian ever to do so.
The top two riders from each category at Regionals go on to compete at Zones, and the top two from Zones go to Nationals. Lee will be competing against Anna Fishko of the Harvard team as well as the top two intermediate riders from each of three other regions in Zone I. The Zones competition will take place on Saturday at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts.