Eleven equestrians representing St. Andrews at three different National Championships in 2011
Laurinburg, N.C. – St. Andrews Presbyterian College will have riders competing at three National Intercollegiate Championships over the next two weeks.
Sophomore Lindsey Agaliotis will represent St. Andrews at the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Championships at Canterbury Show Place in Florida this weekend. Hunter seat team members Audrey Bolte, Rob Jacobs, Katie Hansen, Kali Cram, Sami Cram, Jennifer Callahan, Miranda Wright and Blake Liljestrand will competed at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Hunter Seat Nationals May 5- 8 at Kentucky Horse Park while Leah Davison and Brittany Powell will compete at the IHSA Western Nationals at the same time.
“I am really excited to be travelling to Nationals with Lindsey representing SAPC in the Upper Training division,” said Dressage Coach Jackie Dwelle. “She has worked really hard to develop her horsemanship on all levels and has been a true leader for our team. Lindsey has been riding every day on as many different horses as possible to refine and hone her skills.”
This is the first time Agaliotis is competing under the pressures of a national competition and Dwelle has been working with her on ways to stay calm and focused on her riding on the day of the event.
“Once she is in the competition ring I will be riding along with her and holding my breath,” Dwelle said. “That is the hardest part of coaching because there is nothing I can do if things go wrong it is all up to the rider.”
The Hunter Seat team is making its first trip to the Nationals to compete for the team title. For Coach Ashley Duda, the preseason goal of a top five finish is obtainable.
“This is a much stronger team than I had at Nationals five years ago when I coached for Kansas State,” Duda said. “These students really want to win, they are self-motivated and I don’t have to tell them to work hard. If all the riders are ‘on’ and everything falls into place we can bring everything home. We have placed second and third at two National tournaments and they really want to win.”
Duda has been working with the team on a regime of no stirrup work, lunge lessons and continual improvement of the rider’s positions in the saddle.
“I am working with eight different personalities and each one needs something different,” she said. “Some need more pumping up than others This group has competed together all year and should feel very confident but it can be hard convincing people at this level that they can win. At the end of the day our riders will be much stronger because of this experience. Once they are in the ring all I can do is trust that our practices have given them the tools to react to whatever comes up with the horse they are riding.”
In addition to the team competition, Jacobs is riding for the Cacchione Cup, the award for the National Individual Hunter Seat High Point Rider.
“Most of the riders in the Cacchione Cup have a background in the 3’6” medal classes prior to coming to college,” said Duda. “Rob’s background prior to college was jumping 2’6” courses on well-trained horses and his position was not solid. He has come a long way in four years. He has the ability to lay down a beautiful over fences ride.”
Hansen is also representing St. Andrews as an individual in the Open Fences division.
Western Coach Carla Wennberg has been working with National qualifiers Leah Davison in Beginning Walk/Jog and Brittany Powell in Intermediate Horsemanship.
“We have been working on body position, strengthening and correct design of position all year,” Wennberg said. “Confidence is important at this point, winning is more about your mental approach than your physical approach. The horses can be good or bad and you have to be ready to deal with every situation. The patterns will be more intricate at Nationals plus the riders must convince the judge that they have a beautiful position and can ride softly. For Leah especially being 6’1” she stands out in the ring so that first impression is really important. The riders have to draw a horse that they can ride well, have a consistent performance on the rail and demonstrate an excellent pattern while exhibiting poise and confidence.”
As a judge in the field, Wennberg finds that she reacts to her riders in the ring from a judge’s perspective.
“I analyze everything and know what is going on,” Wennberg said. “It gets to be emotional too when you have worked so hard to get to this point and then the element of luck from the horse draw might help you or not. It sets you up for a lot of turmoil. I have to keep it in perspective and remind myself that neither my rider nor I trained the horse.”
About St. Andrews Presbyterian College
An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.
On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.