Equestrian Team Starts First Recognized Season Strong

State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz went on the road to Delaware State University for their first National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) show of the season this past Saturday. The show began with the jumping phase of competition, and while the Hawks put in good rounds, the Hornets came out on top 4-1. Fourth-year Dominique Gago edged out Hornet Eva Epstein with a score of 70 to Epstein’s 69 aboard Patton. Other rounds for the Hawks consisted of first-year Brynley Smith (55), third-year Elizabeth Jacoby (68), third-year Camryn Dluginski (70), third-year Katie Brantmeyer (75), and fourth-year Madeline Berg (78). 

Next for the flat phase, the Hawks had a hard time finding their rhythm and fell to the Hornets’ 5-1. Smith rode Finnegan and won the Hawks a point, scoring a 57 on her test. Other tests for the Hawks included Jacoby (43), Brantmeyer (47), Gago (48), Dluginski (55), and Berg (69).

“We feel like today was a great day and we came out very prepared for the show,” Head Coach Helaina Ricciardi said. “All girls rode to their fullest potential which made us very proud as coaches.”

The SUNY New Paltz Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team attended their first show of the season at Marist’s facility, Crosswinds Equestrian Center. The Hawks faced Marist College, Centenary University, Drew University, United States Military Academy, Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College.

First up for the Hawks was Intermediate Flat, where fourth-year Katie Zacharda rode to a third place finish aboard Marist’s “Brennos.” Next up was the Limit Flat, where second-year Jillian Kahrs drew Crystal and finished fourth, and second-year Sara Marriott finished seventh on Tito.

Limit Fences was the next division, and Zacharda delivered a second place trip on Impy, and Kahrs finished sixth on Quantum. Heading back to the flat, third-year Frances Baldinucci competed in the Novice Flat taking home second on Stewart, and in the Pre-Novice second-years Brie Costello riding Jake and Abby Artz riding Crystal each took fourth. The last division was Introductory, where second-year Paige Parker took first on Roosevelt, and brought home the sole blue ribbon for the Hawks.  

“I was super surprised that I got first. It felt like a really good ride, but I had no idea I would place first,” Parker said. “I rode Roosevelt and he was super cute. His description said he needed lots of leg so as soon as I got on him I got him walking very forward. From there, he was just as excited as me to win.”

The Hawks finished third out of seven teams, marking a good start to their IHSA season.  

“I feel that today was a great first show of the season,” said Assistant Coach Brooke Nestor. “Our riders came in prepared and followed through with what they needed to accomplish, which helped lead the team to a third place overall finish. For the next show, we have some fine tuning on equitation angles but I believe we will come to the next show with more confidence, which will help lead to successful outings.”

Next up for the Hawks, NCEA heads to Sweet Briar College Friday, Oct. 4.