MIT Rides To Two 3rd Place FinishesBy Jenny Lee
Last Saturday, the MIT equestrian team competed at the first IHSA competition of the spring season at Apple Knoll Farm in Millis, Mass., with Danielle M. Gilbert ’05 and Ida G. Wahlquist-Ortiz ’04 each taking third in their respective divisions.
The early morning fog and chills were replaced later in the day with temperatures in the 60s F, giving the team a rare chance to compete in warm weather. Jenny J. Lee ’02, the first of the MIT team to compete, drew a 16.2 hand bay gelding named Monty in the random horse lottery for her open over fences class.
She began her jump course well, but unfortunately allowed her mount to speed up too much over the last few fences instead of maintaining a steady, consistent canter. Although she made no major mistakes, this kept her out of the ribbons.
Gilbert leads team in flat phase
The flat phase of the competition took place in the afternoon, during which the wind kicked up, creating extremely dusty conditions around the arena. Lee was again first to ride, drawing Ally, a 16.2 hand black mare, in the open flat division. Ally was a bit heavy on the forehand, which caused Lee some trouble at the sitting trot and canter. Lee also began cantering on the wrong lead in the first direction. Although she corrected the problem a few strides later with a flying lead change, this mistake again kept Lee out of the top six.
Gilbert debuted in the novice flat division with a solid ride on the same mare, Ally, that Lee rode earlier. Gilbert won third place in her class. “I was nervous entering the ring, since I had not ridden English in 18 months, but once we got going, I felt more confident and began to enjoy it,” Gilbert said. “I definitely look forward to showing again.”
MIT rider takes third in walk-trot
Wahlquist-Ortiz competed in the walk-trot category at the very end of the day. She drew a chestnut gelding named Cool, and rode very well, picking up the correct diagonal at the posting trot in both directions. Her only mistake was cutting across the middle of the arena and stopping her horse before being asked to do so. Wahlquist-Ortiz also placed third in her class.
International Horse Show Association (IHSA) events judge a rider’s ability to control an unfamiliar horse. Competitors are placed in divisions according to their previous riding experience, and are assigned mounts by random lottery. The most experienced riders compete in the open division, while beginners ride walk-trot, with a range of categories in between.
The team will participate in a competition on April 6 hosted by Boston University, to be held at Holly Hill Show Stable in Hanover, Massachusetts.