The New Paltz Equestrian team resides at the scenic Lucky C Stables, but riding isn’t as easy or as graceful as it looks.
The team said they have had many hard and grueling practices, in order to achieve the graceful appearance of rider and horse just before overcoming a jump. During these practices, coaches are try to prepare the riders for both a judge’s remarks, and horses that they are not used to riding.
“The only thing predictable about a horse is that they are unpredictable” said Coach Susan Clark.
Because of this unpredictably the riders should be ready for any horse. The riders are judged on their ability to control and maneuver a horse effectively.
The team’s goals for this season are to be champions or at least third place in their division.
“We are currently in sixth place but there isn’t many points between us and third place,” said Clark.
Overshadowing the team are the Regional Champions. New Paltz is able to hold their own and compare themselves to the Champions and they can observe the techniques of their competitors.
According to Clark, one of the weaknesses of this year’s team is a limited amount of participation in shows. Participation in multiple shows would help alleviate jitters which are easily picked up by the horses and can affect how well they ride.
“Horses are beautiful but not very bright, they act like chickens sometimes,” said the team’s public representative Lacey Lohr.
When asked how the team was doing Lohr said “rankings don’t pan out until the end of the year.”
“The strengths of the team this year include wonderful chemistry and many new riders,” said Clark.
Clark is hopeful the new riders will stay with the team for years to come and continuously improve their skills so the potential for a good solid team is there.
“The wonderful thing about this division of riding is that anybody can participate,” Clark said.