The SUNY New Paltz Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team kicked off its spring season Sunday at the All-Region show hosted at Centenary University. After the last competition of the fall season, the Hawks were sitting in fourth as a team with 110 points, behind United States Military Academy (USMA) (129), Marist College (156), and Centenary University (196). With third-year Frances Baldinucci and fourth-year Katie Zacharda qualified for regionals, SUNY New Paltz is looking to qualify a few more individuals for the postseason in its next couple of shows.
Sunday’s show was filled with large classes and lots of strong competition all around. Starting with fences, the Hawks opened up the point card with Zacharda in intermediate fences aboard Houdini. With a deep second fence, she had a decent trip putting her sixth out of nine riders. Next to show for SUNY New Paltz was Baldinucci. She drew Dennis for limit fences and despite best efforts, did not pin. Second-year Jillian Kahrs headed into the ring following Baldinucci for limit fences aboard Gabun and put in a steady ride, earning herself fifth place out of seven riders.
After fences, the flat portion of the competition got underway. Zacharda headed back into the ring for intermediate flat, riding Leo. Despite riding amongst a field of 10 riders, she had a great ride and placed third. With two shows of regular season competition left, Zacharda’s hunting for seven points to secure her spot in intermediate flat for Regionals.
Next for the Hawks, Baldinucci went in for limit flat on Signature and rode her best in a big class, but unfortunately did not end up in the ribbons. Kahrs followed next, this time riding Houdini. She had a smooth ride, placing fourth out of seven riders. Second-year Sara Marriott finished up the limit flat division for SUNY New Paltz. She drew Harmony, and rode to a third place finish.
“I’m super happy with a third place finish, because I know that in the past I wouldn’t have been able to do that well with a strong horse like Harmony, so it’s really nice to see my hard work pay off,” Marriot said.
First-year Abigail Artz followed in a novice flat class. She also drew Harmony and took home third as well, making that the third yellow ribbon for the Hawks. Second-year Brie Costello was next to go in pre-novice flat aboard Tucker. Costello rode strong, and earned herself third in a field of seven, keeping the yellow streak alive. Last for the day in the introductory flat was second-year Paige Parker. Parker drew Lance and rode to a fourth place finish in a competitive class.
The high point team was Centenary University, scoring a whopping 46 points with a very successful day. Marist College was reserve high point team with 24 points, followed by the USMA (21). There was a tie for fourth place between SUNY New Paltz and Sarah Lawrence College, each with 17, followed by Vassar College (11), Drew University (9) and William Paterson University (5). The Hawks remain in fourth in the yearly standings with 124 points, behind USMA (150), Marist (180) and Centenary on top with 242.
“I feel that everyone performed well after having a long break from competitions. The Centenary horses also were coming back from break and were a little fresh,” said Hawks coach Brooke Nestor. “All our riders handled their horses great, rode smart and followed through with their plans. As a whole, I plan on putting riders on some different horses in practice that they aren’t used to to try and help practice some of the challenges they faced today. From ones that go a little quicker than what our riders are used to and ones that jump a little harder. We have a plan to use our horses so we can come back to Centenary in two weeks even stronger.”