The SUNY New Paltz Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team finished its last competition of the fall season in fourth place out of the eight teams in the region. Centenary University finished first as high point team with 40 points, followed by United States Military Academy (USMA) close behind with reserve high point team (36). Marist College was third (30) and SUNY New Paltz finished fourth (26).
The Hawks’ show day got underway with fourth-year Katie Zacharda first to go in intermediate fences. She rode Reese and put in a decent round, earning sixth in her class. Next, Zacharda headed into intermediate flat on her draw, Eddie, where she had a lovely ride and placed second.
Next up, SUNY New Paltz second-year Jillian Kahrs competed in limit fences aboard Milo, where she put in a nice round and earned second place. Second-year Sara Marriott opened up for the Hawks in limit flat on her draw, Harmony, and rode to a fourth place finish. Kahrs competed next in limit flat, also aboard Harmony, and rode very well and finished third.
The second half of the day began with second-year Brie Costello kicking things off in pre-novice flat. She drew Eli, and put in a strong ride and finished third in her class. First-year Abby Artz made her debut in novice flat aboard Rebus, and rode to a third place finish in a competitive class. Second-year Paige Parker was last to go, and she competed in introductory flat after drawing Happy, and had a beautiful ride which earned her first place and the highly sought-after blue ribbon. Parker has previously drawn Happy at USMA’s show in October, where she finished fourth.
“Since my last ride on Happy didn’t go too well, I was a little nervous after drawing him again, but my ride on Happy today was great,” Parker said. “I was able to keep him in great frame, and together we placed first. It felt very exciting to win on a horse that I previously didn’t do well on, and it was a great end to an even greater season.”
“During this semester [Paige] has taken any opportunity to come and hack and continue practicing and getting in the tack and it really shows,” said Head Coach Brooke Nestor. “She drew the same horse she had at the last Centenary show where she struggled and to have such an improvement and come out with a win this time really shows the effort she has put in.”
After Saturday’s competition, the Hawks are in fourth as a team with 110 points, behind United States Military Academy (129), Marist College (156) and Centenary University (196). SUNY New Paltz will continue its season starting Feb. 9 at Centenary University Equestrian Center for the all-region show.
“I am very proud of the team’s performance as a whole today,” Nestor said. “I feel that everyone has made great progress throughout the semester, from improving riding in traffic, to basic position, to planning and executing correct tracks and plans in the jump courses. I think for the off season coming up everyone needs to continue riding, practicing and staying in shape but everyone can take a slight break mentally without having competitions. I believe next semester we will come back stronger than ever.”