NEWS AND VIEWS

2020-2021 SEASON

The year of COVID-19.  As you may be aware, our team was not able to finish out our season last year.  Shows beyond Semi Finals were cancelled, including Nationals, and sadly our seniors lost out on their last chance to show post season.  As the pandemic continued, it was decided that MHC would be remote for the fall of 2020 and our team is currently virtual.  Many colleges have prohibited team practices and competitions, leaving students and coaches with no choice but to get creative in order to keep the team alive and members active.
At this time, our team is very active and we communicate with each other on a regular basis.  We have weekly meetings, many of our riders are able to ride at a barn near their home, and we are actively fundraising for our team.  Every member has a team job and is working to recruit riders for next semester.  The coaches set up virtual horsemanship classes to be completed each week by every member.  And our officers are working hard to keep things organized and running smoothly.
The IHSA is offering virtual shows soon and we look forward to participating in those.  YEDA is also offering classes at their shows for our IHSA riders and alumni riders.  We are excited for some new opportunities for us now and in the months to come.
Please follow us on facebook and instagram for updates and news.

 

 

2019-2020 Season

2020 IHSA Zone One Western Regional Championships

Friends,
 
On Saturday, the Western team traveled to the University of Connecticut to compete in the Zone 1 Western Regional Championships. We had 9 qualified riders and a long day of showing ahead of us!
 
The show was casino themed. We started the day with the horse draw, where each rider rolled two dice and the highest number picked a card on a poker table with a horse’s name on it. Then they grabbed a prop and stood with their fellow competitors for a fun photo op.
 

After that, our very own Sal Cosmedy sang the National Anthem to open the show. Then we had our senior ceremony! This was a bittersweet moment and all of our seniors and coaches received an IHSA blanket. We are very grateful for all the hard work they have put into the team and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors!

 
Then it was time to start the show!
 
Individual results (for MHC riders):

Class 11: Beginner Western Horsemanship

2nd – Sal Cosmedy ’20

3rd – Vico Deng ’20

Class 13: Level I Western Hosemanship

1st – Sophie Thorson ’21

Class 14: Level II Western Horsemanship

2nd – Aja Smith-Saunders ’22

Rookie B had 21 qualified riders, so after 4 initial splits 11 riders were called back. Morgan Remillard and Ella Sevier were asked back to ride again.

Class 12B: Rookie B Western Horsemanship

2nd – Morgan Remillard ’20

10th – Ella Sevier ’20

Outside the Ribbons-

Izzy Baird ’20

Alex Nesci ’20

Emilia Palascak ’20

We would also like to congratulate this season’s high point teams and riders.

Teams:
UMass Amherst – 292

Mount Holyoke College – 260

Central Connecticut State University – 216

Uconn – 165

Riders:
Abby McGinn, UMass – 111
Thomas Keegan, CCSU – 88
Merle Austen, MHC – 67
Abigail Antes, UMass – 60
 

We have so many people to thank for this show running smoothly. It had a big show feeling with a nationals vibe and we received a lot of compliments. First, a big thank you to Kelli and Amanda for being our fearless coaches. Second, thank you to our horse providers for bringing in incredible Western horses: Heather Smith, Maegen Evans, Krissy Pryzbyla, Stony B Acres, Amanda Golembeski, Jeremy Mimitz, and the University of Connecticut. We would also like to thank everyone at the MHC equestrian center for supporting us and keeping the barn running in tip top shape. We know that we couldn’t do it without all your hard work and we hope you know how grateful we are to you!

To wrap up the show, we had award presentations and we acknowledged the very special souls that were lost this season. Skyline Shang, UConn, Sam Calzone, UConn Alum, Amanda Belcher, Murray State University Alum, and Layne Mays,  Kansas State University. They were all IHSA competitors and we wish for peace for their families and friends. We also acknowledged the beloved horses of Muddy Brook Farm.

For the awards, Sportsman of the Year was Ben Cohen from UMass, and Horse of the Year was our very own Viktor! We thought you would enjoy hearing his Champion write up:

“When you look at him, the first thing that comes to mind is NOT western!  However, he is a saint and has been around for many years. He too has packed around many riders and helped them qualify for the big shows.  He is safe, he is a love bug, he has dragged many a rider to each grain bucket down an entire barn aisle, and he has accidentally ripped a toenail off of not one but TWO different riders (yes, they were wearing boots when this happened).  Not his fault, he has ENORMOUS feet! He has been someone’s shoulder to cry on, he has helped a rider overcome her fears. He carries an American flag with pride. He is the go to horse at the barn. He is… the amish cart horse… Mount Holyoke’s own… Viktor!”

In each class, the top two riders advance to Semi Finals in West Virginia. We have four individuals qualified. Sal Cosmedy in Beginner, Morgan Remillard in Rookie B, Sophie Thorson in Level I, and Aja Smith-Saunders in Level II. Additionally, Vico Deng, who came in third in beginner, will also be preparing in the event that someone from beginner can’t go.

 
We will keep you updated with the results from Semi-Finals.
Best,
The MHC Western Team 2019-2020
 

MHC Show 12/7/2019

We just finished the last show of this season, our homeshow. Our riders, team members, and horses cooperated greatly making it through the day and allowing the show to run smoothly. We ended up with 187 points to this show season. Moreover, we have Peyton and Vico in Beginner, Morgan and Izzy in Rookie, Sophie in level I, and Merle in both Open Horsemanship and Open Reining to be regional qualifiers. Go yoke!

Our day started with Merle Austen, her fantastic riding was placed second. Then, we have two splits of Beginner Horsemanship. In the first split, Peyton Peyton Kim-LaTona and Sal Cosmedy earned 1st and 3rd place respectively. In the second split, Shi Tang and Leora Ferrari also claimed 1st and 3rd place. Up next we had Aja Smith-Saunders in Level II. She rode beautifully to fourth place. Then, Morgan Remillard earned an exciting first place and Izzy Baird got the third place in Rookie B. Merle took the rein again in open reining, gaining the first place as reserved high point rider. Our morning show ended with Ella Sevier and Angela Chen’s gorgeous riding to claim the fourth and fifth place.

In the afternoon show, we started with two splits of Beginner. In the first split, Esa Li and Ella Qiu won second and third respectively. In the second split, Vico Deng claimed second, Sal Cosmedy claimed third, and Leora Ferrari claimed fourth. Then, both Aja and Morgan’s fantastic riding won fourth place. Izzy rode beautifully and claimed sixth place. Merle showed again and won another first place. Angela showed next earned a fourth place with her fantastic riding. In our final class, Ella S had a great ride for second place.

Here are the current standings for the Region:

UMASS– 202
MHC– 187
CCSU– 150
UConn– 127

CCSU Show 11/24/19

Mount Holyoke College Western Team had an amazing day at the Central Connecticut State Show this Sunday, November 24th. Congratulations to MHC western riders for finishing as High Point Team for both the morning and afternoon show! We are proud of all of you!
 
We started the day with two splits of Level one. In the first split, Izzy Baird’s strong ride was placed in fourth. Then, in the second split, Sophie Thorson showed off gorgeous claiming the 1st place. We saw both Rookie B and Rookie A just after that. Morgan Remillard and Alex Nesci’s excellent riding earned second and fourth place respectively. Ella Sevier earned sixth place with a fantastic ride. And Angela Chen’s beautiful ride was placed as second. Then,  Merle Austen’s fantastic riding earned her a yellow ribbon in Open Horsemanship. Aja Smith-Saunders had a great ride placed at second. To end the morning show, we have two splits of beginner riders. In the first split, Shi Tang, Sal Cosmedy, and Peyton Kim-LaTona won first, second and fourth respectively. And in the second split, Esa Li, Peyton Kim-LaTon and Ella Qiu’s excellent riding scored first, fourth, and fifth respectively.
 
In the afternoon show, beginner riders showed again in two splits. Peyton Kim-LaTona, Esa Li, Leora Ferrari, and Sal Cosmedy claimed second, third, fourth, and sixth respectively. Then, Shi Tang, Vico Deng, and Ella Qiu won second, third, and fourth respectively. Merle Austen’s incredible ride earned her 2nd place for Open Horsemanship. Merle Austen’s riding with the perfect pattern was placed at first. Aja Smith-Saunders ride beautifully to fourth place. Then, Sophie Thorson showed gain another first place with her gorgeous riding. Morgan Remillard and Ella Sevier showed in the same split gaining a second and third place respectively. Alex Nesci put in a great ride to claim fifth place. In the end, Angela Chen’s beautiful ride earned her fourth place. With this ride, Angela pointed out of Rookie A and into Rookie B. Congrats!
 
Let’s also celebrate the MHC Regional Qualifiers, Izzy Baird (Rookie), Morgan Remillard (Rookie), and Sophie Thorson (Level 1)!
 
Here are the current standings for the Region:
UMASS– 138
MHC– 137
UCONN– 82
CCSU-57
 
Thanks to Central Connecticut State Westen Team for holding the great show! We look forward to our home show two weeks later! Hoping that everyone has a great Thanksgiving!
 

Uconn Show 11/16/19

The MHC Western Team just returned home from an amazing day of showing at UConn! After a day of strong rides, we were proud to end the show as the Reserve High Point Team.

Our day started bright and early with three splits of Beginner Horsemanship. Our newest riders put in some stellar rides. In the first split Vico Deng (’20) and Peyton Kim-LaTona (’21) earned 2nd and 3rd place respectively. In the second split Leora Ferrari (’21) and Ella Qiu (’21) won 4th and 3rd place respectively, and in the final split of beginner Sal Cosmedy (’20) and Esa Li (’22) claimed 3rd and 4th place respectively.

The loping classes began with two splits of Rookie A. In the first split, Angela Chen’s (’22) beautiful ride earned her 2nd place. In the second split of Rookie A, Ella Sevier (’20) showed off gorgeous railwork to claim 1st place. With this ride, Ella pointed out of Rookie A and into Rookie B– Way to go, Ella! Up next we had riders in two splits of Rookie B. First up, Alex Nesci (’20) put in a great ride to claim 4th place. Then, Morgan Remillard (’20) followed suit in the next split, earning 4th place with another fantastic ride.

After Rookie, we saw two splits of Level 1. In the first split, Sophie Thorson (’21) put in a strong ride for 5th place. Then, in her Level 1 debut, Izzy Baird (’20) had a great ride for 1st place. In Level 2, we saw Aja Smith-Saunders (’22) ride beautifully to 3rd place. In our final rail class, Merle Austen’s (’20) incredible ride earned her 2nd place for Open Horsemanship. Merle took the ring again in Open Reining, spinning and running her way to 2nd place with a well-executed pattern. With this ride, Merle claimed the Reserve High Point Rider title for the show! Congratulations, Merle!

After all the points were tallied, MHC earned the Reserve High Point Team for the show with 25 points! Here are the current standings for the Region:

High Point Team:
UMASS– 89
MHC– 77
CCSU– 57
UCONN– 50

High Point Rider:
Abby McGinn (UMASS)– 39
Merle Austen (MHC)– 30
Thomas Keegan (CCSU)– 25
Abigail Antes (UMASS)– 11

MHC Regional Qualifiers:
Izzy Baird– Rookie

Thank you so much to the UCONN Western team for putting on a wonderful show! We’re looking forward to next weekend’s double header at Central Connecticut State University!


Umass Show 11/3/19

On November 3th, Mount Holyoke College Western Team attended the UMASS show in Broad Brook, CT to compete with our strong competitors, University of Massachusetts, University of Connecticut, and Central Connecticut State University. To start with the 19-20 season of IHSA show, we scored an amazing 52 points in the UMASS show.
In the morning show of the day, we started with amazing riders Morgan Remillard, Izzy Baird, Alex Nesci and Angela Chen in the inter-division. Izzy, Alex, and Morgan rode beautifully and placed 2nd, 4th, and 6th respectively. Angela, the first time showing, achieved an outstanding 2nd place. Next was the beginner division with our team members Shi Tang, Ella Qiu, and Peyton Kim- Latona performed in the same split. Shi achieved 1st place, Peyton achieved 4th, and Ella achieved 5th for their perfect riding. In the second split, Vico Deng and Sal Cosmedy rode together and placed 1st and 4th respectively. Then, Sophie obtained an excellent 4th place in Level I. Aja in Level II rode beautifully for 2nd place. To end the first show, Merle Austen’s perfect riding earns her two 2nd place in both the Open Horsemanship and Open Reining! Our team won the High Point Team thanks to every team member’s contribution!

In the second show of the day, we started with Merle. Her gorgeous ride got her a 1st in Open Reining and 4th in Open Horsemanship. Next, Aja in level II achieved a 2nd place in her split. Sophie’s excellent performance earned her a blue ribbon. Peyton rode to 2nd place and Esa Li got 4th in the first split of beginner division. Then, Sal and Vico rode together again placed 1st and 5th respectively. Angela rode to 4th place in Rookie A. Izzy and Sophie both snagged the red ribbons. Finally, we ended off the day with Alex’s gorgeous riding and placed 3rd. We finished as the Reserved High Point Team in the afternoon show!

Overall, our team reached the highest point out of the four teams participating, which all had great rides today as well. UMASS got 51 points, UCONN got 35 points and CCSU got 34 points. Also, let’s celebrate for Izzy and Merle’s achievements to get the regional qualifiers in Rookie and reserved high point rider respectively. We can’t wait to take on the UCONN show on Nov. 16. Good luck and have fun!


 

2018-2019 Season

IHSA Zone 1 Regionals 2/16/19
 
The MHC Western Team made their way out to the Sacred Heart barn in Connecticut where we had our long and exciting Regionals Competition!
 
To start the day, Nana Honda (’19), Olivia Laursen (’19), and Sophie Thorson (’21) rode in three separate splits for the Intermediate class. They all rode beautifully and snagged 11th, 12th, and 9th place respectively.
 
Next, Meagan Rodriquez (’19) and Aja Smith-Saunders (’22) both rode in the Novice finals, laid out beautiful patterns, and came in 5th and 3rd respectively. Great job girls!
 
Later in the day, Amber Reiger (’19) and Nicole Palmer (’19) both rode in the Open Horsemanship Finals. Nicole came away with 6th place and Amber came in at 3rd!
 
Then, Catie Tremblay (’19) rode in one of the two splits for beginner and got called back to ride in the finals. After her final ride, Catie came away with 2nd place and is being sent to Semi-Finals in Florida!
 
Lastly, with a very exciting ride, Nicole Palmer (’19) rode in Open Reining. After all the reiners were done, Nicole placed 1st and is also going to Semi-Finals in Florida! Beautiful job Nicole!
 
With Catie and Nicole going on to Semi-Finals, we are super excited to keep our season going! We will keep everyone updated on how they do.
 

MHC Western Home Show 2/9/19
 
the MHC Western Team hosted an exciting doubleheader show at home!
 
The morning show started with Open Reining, and after a re-ride by the top three competitors, Nicole Palmer (’19) came out on top and won 1st place. In Open Horsemanship, Nicole took 1st place once again, and Amber Rieger (’19) won 5th. Next was Beginner in which Leora Ferrari (’21) won 3rd. In the next split, Catie Tremblay (’19) won 3rd which pointed her out of her division! In Intermediate I Lisa Wang (’19) rode for 4th. In the next split Daria Rassoulian (‘19) won 3nd which pointed her out of her division as well!
 
Next in Intermediate II Morgan Remillard (’20) got 4th, and in the next split Kit Lindgren (’19) won 3rd. Four riders rode in Novice Horsemanship. Aja Smith-Saunders (‘22) won 1st place, Sophie Thorson (‘21) won 2nd, Nanako Honda (’19) won 5th, and Olivia Laursen (’19) took home 6th. In the Advanced Horsemanship class Meagan Rodriguez (’19) took home 3rd.
 
At the end of the morning show, and after a lot of hard work from the whole team, MHC won High Point Team, and Nicole won High Point Rider, with Emilie Hernandez from UConn taking Reserve rider. The overall team standings are as follows:
 
MHC: 33
SHU: 28
UMass: 23
UConn: 22
CCSU: 17
 
Because of their hard work, Catie and Aja qualified for Regionals!
 
After a lunch break classes resumed for the afternoon show.
 
Starting off in Open Reining, Nicole won 6th. Following next was Open Horsemanship, with Amber winning 2nd and Nicole winning 5th. In Beginner Peyton Kim-LaTona (’21) won 3rd place. In her first ride in Intermediate I Catie won 1st place and Lisa got 4th. During her first ride in Intermediate II Daria won 3rd, Kit placed 4th, and Morgan snagged 2nd. To finish off the day in her first ride in Advanced, Aja grabbed 5th and Meagan won 4th place.
 
At the end of the afternoon show, Sacred Heart University won High Point Team and Emilie Hernandez from UConn won High Point Rider, with Reserve tied between Abby McGuinn from UMass and Nicole Gonzalez from UConn. The team standing for the afternoon show is as follows:
 
SHU: 33
UMass: 23
UConn: 22
MHC: 20
CCSU: 14
 
The end of the year Open High Point Rider is Emilie Hernandez of UConn with 90 points, followed by Michelle Johnson in Reserve from SHU with 81 points.
 
The end of the year High Point School is Sacred Heart University with 305 points, followed by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with 236 points.
 
MHC Riders Qualified for Regionals:
Beginner: Catie Tremblay
Inter 2: Sophie Thorson, Nanako Honda, Olivia Laursen
Novice: Meagan Rodriguez, Aja Smith-Saunders
Open Horsemanship: Nicole Palmer, Amber Reiger
Open Reining: Nicole Palmer
 
MHC Western would like to extend our warm gratitude to all of the members of the Hunt Seat and Dressage teams for being horse holders as well as all of the barn staff who helped the show run smoothly. In addition, we would like to thank everyone who supported us during the rest of our regular season.
 

UConn Show 2/3/19
 

The MHC Western Team had an awesome show at UConn!

To start out the day, Nicole Palmer (‘19) took 5th in Open Reining. Next, Nicole and Amber Rieger (‘19) both rode in Open Horsemanship and took 1st and 2nd respectively! Later, Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) rode beautifully taking 5th in Advanced. In Novice, Aja Smith-Saunders (‘22) rode for the win! Sophie Thorson (‘21) rode wonderfully in the same split and came out with 6th.

Moving quickly through the show, riding in Intermediate II, Emilia Palascak (‘21) rode for 5th! In the next split, Izzy Baird (‘20) rode for 2nd! After in Intermediate I, Daria Rassoulian (‘19) took second place in her split. And lastly, in beginner, Peyton Kim-Latona (‘21) and Catie Tremblay (‘19) both rode beautifully and grabbed 2nd and 1st respectively.

From all this hard work. MHC won High Point Team with 30 points for the day! Great job everyone! The overall team standings are as follows:

MHC: 30

SHU: 26

UMASS: 19

CCSU: 13

UCONN: 12


 

University of Massachusetts, Amherst IHSA Show 11/18/18

The Mount Holyoke College Western Riding Team traveled to Michele Carver Performance Horses in Broad Brook, CT to compete in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Home Show Double Header. In the first show of the day, we started with Nicole Palmer (’19) and Amber Rieger (’19) in Open Horsemanship. They both had beautiful rides against tough competition and ranked 6th and 5h respectively. the next class was a very large group of Advanced riders, and unfortunately Meagan Rodriguez (’19) placed just outside the ribbons. In Novice, Aja Smith-Saunders (’22) had a beautiful ride and placed 3rd. Next, there were three splits of Intermediate II. Our rider Olivia Laursen (’19) had an amazing ride and placed first in the first split! In the second split, Nanako Honda (’19) placed 3rd and pointed out into Novice and qualified for Regionals! In the last split, Emilia Palascak (’21) placed 2nd with a great ride, despite needing to switch horses during the class. In Beginner, Catie Tremblay (’19) had a great ride and placed 6th. To round out the show, Nicole placed 4th in Open Reining against tough competition.
 
School Points from 1st show
UMASS 27 CHAMP
SHU 26 RESERVE
UCONN 19
MHC 13
CCSU 7
 
In the second show of the day, we started on a great foot with Nicole placing 1st in Open Reining! Next, there were two splits of Beginner. In the first split, Catie placed 3rd with her third ride of the semester on SHU horse Copper. In her IHSA debut, Leora Ferrari (’21) had an amazing ride that placed her 4th! In Intermediate II, Izzy Baird (’20) and Alexandra Nesci (’20) had great rides and placed 4th and 6th respectively. Next, in her Novice debut, Sophie Thorson (’21) placed 6th in her class. In the second split of Advanced, Meagan placed 4th with an impressive ride. Lastly, Amber and Nicole competed in Open Horsemanship. Amber placed 5th and Nicole placed 6th.
 
School Points from 2nd show
SHU 38 CHAMP
UMASS 30 RESERVE
UCONN 22
MHC 19
CCSU 11
 
current high point rider standings
Johnson, Michelle SHU 43
Hernandez, Emilie UConn 41
Johnson, Kerstin UMass 40
Palmer, Nicole MHC 36
Rieger, Amber MHC 18
current high point college standings
SHU 147
UMass 126
MHC 108
UConn 98
CCSU 50
 
Regional Qualifiers from this show: Nanako Honda

 

University of Connecticut IHSA Show 11/4/18

Yesterday, the Mount Holyoke College Western Riding Team traveled to the University of Connecticut to compete in our 3rd show of the season. The show began at 4pm, which is later than usual, but everyone still brought their A-game. Catie Tremblay won her first blue ribbon in the second split of Beginner Horsemanship. Later, Emilia Palasack had an awesome ride to 5th place in Intermediate Horsemanship 1. She has pointed into Intermediate Horsemanship 2. Olivia Laursen and Sophie Thorson got 4th and 2nd place respectively in Intermediate Horsemanship 2. Sophie also pointed out of Intermediate Horsemanship 2 and into Novice Horsemanship. She has qualified for Regionals. Nana Honda won the blue ribbon in the second spilt of Intermediate Horsemanship 2, and Aja Smith-Saunders snagged 1st place in Novice Horsemanship. Meagan Rodriguez placed 1st in Advanced Horsemanship. Nicole Palmer and Amber Rieger took 1st and 2nd place respectively in Open Horsemanship. Way to go! Later, Nicole took 1st place in Reining.
MHC took High Point Team yesterday at UCONN, and Nicole Palmer won High Point Rider! Your MHC Western Lyons racked up 10 total ribbons and 6 blue ribbons.
We’re very proud of our win at UCONN, and we’re getting excited for our next double header on November 18th hosted by UMASS in Broad Brook, CT. Go Lyons!
 
Show Points:
MHC – 40
UMASS – 24
SHU – 23
UCONN – 19
CCSU – 9
 
High Point Rider Standings
Emilie Hernandez – UConn – 26
Michelle Johnson – SHU – 26
Nicole Palmer – MHC – 24
Kerstin Johnson – UMass – 20
Amber Rieger – MHC – 14
 
High Point College Standings
SHU – 83
MHC – 76
UMass – 69
UConn – 57
CCSU – 32
 
Regional Qualifiers
Sophie Thorson (’21)
Meagan Rodriguez (’19)
Emilia Palascak (’21)
 

Sacred Heart University IHSA Show 10/13/18

On Saturday the 13th, the Mount Holyoke Western Team traveled to Rolling M Ranch in Southbury, CT to compete against Sacred Heart University, University of Connecticut, Central Connecticut State University, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This was our first official IHSA show of the season. In the first show of the day, we started with Amber Rieger and Nicole Palmer in the Open Horsemanship division. Nicole and Amber had beautiful rides and placed 5th and 6th respectively. Next was the Novice division with new team member Aja Smith-Saunders and senior member Meagan Rodriguez. Meagan placed 4th, pointing out of the Novice division, and Aja rode beautifully for 2nd place. In Intermediate II, we had three amazing riders. Morgan Remillard rode in the first split and placed 5th. Alexandra Nesci and Nana Honda rode together in the second split and placed 6th and 2nd respectively. Emilia Palascak was our only rider for this morning in the Intermediate I division and she had a lovely ride into 3rd place. Catherine Tremblay made her IHSA debut and had an amazing ride earning her 3rd place. To end the first show, Nicole and Amber brought their best in Open Reining, with Nicole placing 2nd!
 
In the second show of the day, we started with Open Reining. Both ladies brought their all and Amber snagged the blue ribbon! Following Reining was Beginner where Catie rode even better than her first ride and placed 2nd. In Intermediate I, Izzy had a gorgeous ride and got the blue ribbon! Intermediate II saw Sophie Thorson and Nana Honda in the first split. Sophie rode to 2nd place and Nana got 3rd. With Meagan now in Advanced, Aja was our only team rider in the Novice division. She rode to a 3rd place finish. Meagan made her Advanced division debut and had a great ride for 4th place. We ended our day with Amber and Nicole in Open Horsemanship. Nicole had a great ride to 4th place and Amber got 6th.
 

MHC Western at Crimson Acres Scrimmage 10/7/18

On Saturday the 7th, the Mount Holyoke Western Team traveled to Crimson Acres Equestrian Center to compete in our first show of the semester. The show yesterday was a scrimmage, so the team didn’t earn IHSA points, but everyone still brought their best! First, Team Captain Nicole Palmer and Amber Reiger rode to 4th and 6th place respectively in Senior Open Reining. Meagan Rodriguez had a beautiful ride in Sr. Advanced Reining, where she placed 2nd. Aja Smith-Saunders, Alexandra Nesci, and Morgan Remillard all had awesome rides in Sr. Riding Reining Prep, in which Morgan snagged 4th place and Alex got 6th place. Aja and Morgan made their MHC Western Team debuts today! Kicking off the second half of the show, Amber Reiger and Nicole Palmer both had excellent rides in Sr. Open Horsemanship, placing 2nd and 3rd respectively. Then, Meagan Rodriguez rode to 4th place in Sr. Advanced Horsemanship. Morgan Remillard, Nanako Honda, and Alexandra Nesci all rode in Sr. Intermediate II at the scrimmage. Alex took 3rd place and Nana took 6th place. Finally, Izzy Baird and Emilia Palascak had awesome rides where they snagged 2nd and 3rd! At the end of the scrimmage, MHC racked up 34 points, making us the high point collegiate team at the Crimson Acres Scrimmage! Nicole Palmer was the high point rider, and Amber Reiger was reserve high point rider. Congratulations, ladies!


2017-2018 Season

IHSA Semi-Finals at Black Hawk College 03/17/18 and 03/18/18

Our cowgirls returned Monday from Galva, IL, where they competed at the IHSA Semi-Finals hosted by  Black Hawk College. We’d like to begin by saying thank you to everyone who pulled together and helped support our team as they headed to Semi-Finals to compete as a team for the first time since 2014! The team started out the semester 14 points behind and fought their way to win the region. We are so proud of how hard our team has worked and how much we’ve accomplished this season. And we know that things would not be the same without the amazing support we receive from parents, alums, and everyone in the MHC Equestrian Community!

The trip started early on Thursday with a 5:30 am flight out of Hartford. The sleepy group left MHC at 3 am to catch the flight! After a brief layover in Detroit, the cowgirls landed in Peoria, IL and headed to the hotel in Galva. On Friday, the group explored Moline, IL. After some shopping and manicures they headed to horse warm ups and a pork-chop dinner provided by Black Hawk.

The show began Saturday morning, and the team was able to watch the horses go in many classes before Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) ended the day with a smooth and consistent Reining pattern in Individual Open Reining, landing her just out of the ribbons.

Sunday was a very full day as MHC had a rider in almost every class! The day began with Juliana in Team Open Reining. She put in another clean pattern on and received 7th place. Next up, Lily DeBenedictis (‘19), a new member as of this spring, rode well to a 6th place finish in Team Intermediate Horsemanship. We are so happy that Lily found Western and are excited to see what her future brings! Immediately after that, Juliana was back in the ring in the first split of Individual Open Horsemanship. After some speedy railwork and a tough pattern, Juliana was unfortunately not called back for the Finals.

The day continued for MHC after a brief break with Vico Deng (‘20) in Team Beginner Horsemanship. Before competing at Semi-Finals, Vico had only showed 4 times (all this semester!). She put in a great effort for 7th place and we are so proud of how far she ahs come in such a short time. Next we saw Layla Walker (‘20) compete in Team Novice Horsemanship, and with a strong ride she earned 8th place.

We then had two Alums to root for in the Alumni Horsemanship Class. Tara Mathews (UConn), in her first Semi-Finals appearance stepped up her game and had beautiful railwork and pattern to place 7th. Tammy Cranouski (Westfield State) also traveled with the team and put in a stellar ride for third place, qualifying her for Nationals!

Next up, Robin Graney (‘18) competed in Team Advanced Horsemanship. Her first time in advanced, she fit right in and put in a phenomenal ride for 6th place. Robin just competed at regionals in Intermediate Horsemanship and we were so pleased with her ability to step up into the Advanced class for the team. Finishing out the day, Juliana put in another strong ride, earning 8th place in Team Open Horsemanship.

After all the points were tallied, Mount Holyoke finished 8th. We are so proud of our entire team for their hard work and wonderful sportsmanship this year. We’re incredibly grateful for the support we’ve gotten from MHC barn staff, instructors, and the other riding teams. And, of course, we are so thankful for our coach, Kelli Wainscott, for all her hard work preparing our team for our numerous competitions this year.

As the Regional High Point Rider, Juliana will be competing at Nationals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania this May. We are so proud of all that Juliana has achieved this season, and can’t wait to see her compete at Nationals!


Zone I IHSA Regionals at Sacred Heart University 02/18/18

The Mount Holyoke Western Team just got back from a phenomenal Regionals competition hosted by Sacred Heart University. It was a day filled with strong rides and incredible team spirit. We are so proud of all of our riders who accomplished the challenging task of qualifying for Regionals.

Our winter Olympics themed Regional competition started off with a touching senior ceremony. This gave us a chance to celebrate all of the seniors on our team: Robin Graney, Rachel Lenihan, Muyuan Li, Cindy Ma, Caitlin McDowell, Shannon O’Connor, Juliana Ronn, Illianna Termuehlen, and Zhuoran Yu. Our seniors have been integral members of our team, never hesitating to teach other members new skills and constantly modeling hard work, determination, and sportsmanship. We know that you will all go on to do amazing things after MHC!

We started the competition with two splits of Beginner. In the first split Cindy Ma (‘18) and Zhuoran Yu  (‘18) showcased their fantastic railwork. In the next split Izzy Baird (‘20) also put in a strong ride. Later in the day Cindy was called back to the finals for Beginner, where she executed a great pattern.  In the end, their hard work and beautiful rides earned Izzy eighth place,  Zhuoran sixth place, and Cindy fourth place.

Up next were two splits of Intermediate. In the first split Robin Graney (‘18) and Meagan Rodriguez  (‘19) put in beautiful rides on the rail.  Layla Walker (‘20) followed suit in the next split with another stunning ride. Robin was called back to the finals, where she put in a gorgeous pattern. In the end, Meagan won ninth place, Layla won seventh place, and Robin won fourth place.

Between the various splits of Beginner and Intermediate, each Open Reining rider showcased a pattern. Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) had a phenomenal ride, earning first place and qualifying her for individual Open Reining at Semifinals.

Then we saw a great ride from Nicole Palmer (‘19) in the Novice division, which earned her fifth place.  Afterwards, in the Advanced division, Amber Rieger  (‘19) rode beautifully to fourth place. Then, we saw another strong ride from Juliana Ronn (‘18)  which earned her second place in Open Horsemanship, qualifying her for Semifinals in this as well!

We concluded the day by announcing the sportsmanship award, Regional High Point Rider, and Regional High Point School. We are pleased to announce that Mount Holyoke’s Zhuoran Yu  (‘18) won the sportsmanship award. She consistently supports her teammates, demonstrates a strong commitment to the team, and always maintains a positive attitude. We are so proud to call Zhuoran an MHC cowgirl.  Next up, Juliana Ronn (‘18) won the title of High Point Rider for the Region. This means that she will be competing at Nationals this May! We are so proud of all that Juliana has accomplished as both a rider and as our team captain. She inspires the entire team to work hard and have fun. We can’t wait to see her at Nationals!

Finally, Mount Holyoke was announced as the Regional High Point College! This means that the team will be competing at Semi-Finals at Black Hawk College in Illinois in March. We are so excited for this opportunity, and proud of all the effort each rider put in to earn this title. We are thrilled for our riders to represent the region at Semi-Finals, but we are even more proud of the sportsmanship MHC Western demonstrated throughout the season and especially today. The day was filled with laughter, cheers, and boundless team spirit. Our riders carried themselves with grace, supporting and congratulating riders from other teams both in and out of the show ring.

We are so grateful to everyone who has made the success of MHC Western possible: all of the barn staff who make sure MHC is a great place to ride, the other teams who help us out and cheer us on, our friends and families who support us, and our phenomenal ponies who constantly teach us new skills. We are especially thankful for our coach, Kelli, who has dedicated countless hours to helping the entire team become not only better riders, but also all around better teammates and horsewomen. We appreciate everything you do to make this team the best it can be. We also want to thank the team officers—Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18), Manager Meagan Rodriguez (‘19), Treasurer Shannon O’Connor (‘18), and Wrangler Nicole Palmer (‘19)—for all of the behind-the-scenes work they do to make sure the day-to-day operations of the team run smoothly. Above all, we are grateful to be part of the MHC riding community. In true Lyons fashion, we worked hard and carried ourselves with grace, and we could not have done it without our incredible community supporting us.

It’s been an amazing season, full of individual and team growth, hard work, and great team spirit. We’re excited to continue this momentum through Semi-Finals in March.


Mount Holyoke College IHSA Show 02/10/18

Our team of star cowgirls had a wonderful time hosting and showing in our Home Show Double Header yesterday! We are excited to say that we won the Reserve High Point Team honor for the morning show and the High Point Team honor for the afternoon show. And, we’re thrilled to announce that we ended the regular season as the Regional Champions!

The day began with two splits of Beginner. In the first split, Zhuoran Yu (‘18) put in a stellar ride and pattern to place fourth.This ride pointed her out of Beginner and qualified her for Regionals! In the second split of Beginner, Vico Deng (‘20) rode beautifully and executed a great pattern that earned her fifth place. Up next we had the Intermediate division, with one split of Inter I and three splits of Inter II. In Inter I, Izzy Baird (‘20), Cindy Ma (‘18), and Nana Honda (‘19) put in fantastic rides and great patterns to win first, second, and third place, respectively. This show was Izzy’s and Cindy’s Inter I debut. The first split of Inter II included strong rides and well-executed patterns from Sophie Thorson (‘21) and Lily DeBenedictis (‘19), which earned them third and fourth place, respectively. Layla Walker (‘20) rode beautifully and demonstrated a fantastic pattern to come fourth in her split of Inter II. This ride pointed Layla out of Intermediate, launched her into Novice, and earned her a ticket to Regionals! In the final split of Inter II, Rachel Lenihan (‘18) rode and patterned gorgeously for a fourth place finish. After that, Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) put in a stellar pattern in Open Reining to earn first place.

Next, our Novice riders entered the ring in two splits. In the first split, Robin Graney (‘18) rode beautifully to sixth place. In the following split, Meagan Rodriguez’s (‘19) fantastic ride earned her third place. Then, we saw to splits of Advanced. In the first, Amber Rieger (‘19) had a great ride to earn second place. With this ride, Amber pointed out of Advanced and qualified for Regionals! In the next split, Nicole Palmer (‘19) rode beautifully to fourth place. We closed out the morning show with Open Horsemanship. Stellar rides from Juliana Ronn (‘18) and Shannon O’Connor (‘18) earned them first and third place, respectively. This was Shannon’s first time riding in Open Horsemanship. And, with this ride, Juliana earned the High Point Rider honor for the morning show.

After all the points were tallied, the team finished the show as Reserve High Point Champion team with 29 points. Team Results for Morning Show are as follows:
SHU – 33
MHC – 29
UMass – 22
UConn – 18
CCSU – 8

The lunch break flew by and before we knew it, we were back in the ring for the second show of the day. Our fearless leader Julianna Ronn (‘18) started with Open Horsemanship, and put in a phenomenal ride and pattern to earn first place. Nicole Palmer (‘19) followed with a great ride and stellar pattern to place third in Advanced. Next up, we saw three splits of Novice. In the first split, Layla Walker (‘20) put in a strong ride and fantastic pattern to earn second place in her Novice debut. Then, in the next split, Robin Graney’s (‘18) wonderful ride and pattern won her third place. The final split of Novice saw another excellent ride and pattern from Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) to earn second place. Juliana Ronn (‘18) then entered the ring again, and put in a strong pattern to earn first in Open Reining. With this ride she earned the High Point Rider title again in the Afternoon Show.

We then saw three splits with great rides from our Inter II cowgirls: Lily DeBenedictis (‘19) rode gracefully to second place in the first split. Next came Rachel Lenihan (‘18), with a gorgeous ride to third place in the second split. Inter II ended with a lovely ride from Sophie Thorson (‘21), earning her second place. MHC continued to work hard in Inter I, with three strong rides from Cindy Ma (‘18), Izzy Baird (‘20), and Ella Sevier (‘20), to earn first, second, and third, respectively. We ended the day with a fantastic ride from Vico Deng to earn her fourth place in Beginner.

With this wonderful team effort, we earned the High Point Team honor for the afternoon show! The team rankings for the afternoon show are as follows:
MHC – 33
SHU – 27
UMass – 22
UConn – 14
CCSU – 6

Regional Team Standings:
MHC – 297
SHU – 292
UMass – 201
UConn – 187
CCSU – 114

High Point Rider Standings:
Juliana Ronn – 120
Devon Conley – 93
Emilie Hernandez – 63
Alexis Pascal – 42
Jessica Sikorski – 35
Olivia Marlow – 7
Kerstin Johnson – 4

MHC Regional Qualifiers:
Open Reining – Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Open Horsemanship – Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Advanced – Amber Rieger (‘19)
Novice – Nicole Palmer (‘19)
Intermediate – Meagan Rodriguez (‘19), Robin Graney (‘18), Layla Walker (‘20)
Beginner – Olivia Laursen (‘19), Meilian Wu (‘18), Cindy Ma (‘18), Zhuoran Yu (‘18), Izzy Baird (‘20)

A special thank you goes out to the horse owners who supplemented our show with their sweet and talented horses, our own wonderful horses, and the dedicated people who take care of them. Thank you to the barn staff for all your efforts to make the MHC barn a great place for our team to call home, and show off to fellow institutions! We appreciate you extra on days like today, when your hard work helps the events we love run smoothly. And, thank you to the riders from the other MHC teams who came to horse-hold today.

We’ll be working extra hard, gearing up for Regionals on Sunday February 18th at Rolling M Ranch in Connecticut hosted by Sacred Heart University.

In March, the team will head to Galva, Illinois to compete in Semi Finals hosted by Black Hawk College.  We will be working hard to earn a team spot at Nationals.  We also want to congratulate our Captain Juliana Ronn who is a senior for earning High Point AQHA Rider of the entire Region.  She will be headed to IHSA Nationals in May to compete against the most talented western horsemanship and reining riders in the country.  The team is extremely proud of every single team member that has helped to make this season so successful.  In true blue MHC style, we fought to the bitter end to hold our lead, and we did it with pride and endless amounts of sportsmanship.  Our coaches and riders were seen and heard helping other teams riders throughout the entire day both on and off the rail, and that was just amazing to see.

We want to thank all of our coaches, parents, friends and family.  Without every piece of the puzzle, this would not have been possible.  And we are so thankful.

It takes a village, and the MHC village is the best that there is <3


University of Connecticut IHSA Show 02/3/18

The MHC Western Team had a wonderful time showing at the UCONN Double Header! We are happy to have ended the day with High Point honors for both shows!

Saturday morning we braved the cold to attend our fourth double header show this season, hosted by the University of Connecticut. The day began with Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) putting in a beautiful ride to place second in Open Reining. She then had another impressive ride to earn third in Open Horsemanship. With these two rides, Juliana tied for Reserve High Point Rider. Up next we saw Nicole Palmer (‘19) and Amber Rieger (‘19) put in great rides to place second and sixth, respectively, in the Advanced division. We then saw two splits of Novice. In the first split, Robin Graney (‘18) rode wonderfully to a third place finish. In the second split, Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) handled a re-ride gracefully to earn second place. The following division, Intermediate, included two splits of Inter II and one split of Inter I. Our cowgirls swept the first split of Inter II, with Layla Walker (‘20) and Lily DeBenedictis (‘19) riding beautifully to place first and second, respectively. This was Lily’s Western debut! In the next split of Inter II, Alex Nesci (‘20) put in a strong ride to fourth place and Rachel Lenihan (‘18) rode beautifully to sixth place. Inter I was another sweep for MHC, with Nana Honda (‘19) earning first place and Emilia Palascak (‘21) winning second place in her first IHSA show. Last but not least, we saw two splits of Beginner. In the first split, some fantastic rides from Cindy Ma (‘18) and Meilian Wu (‘18) earned them first place and fifth place, respectively. Another MHC sweep in the second split of Beginner rounded off the morning show. In this split Izzy Baird (‘20) put in a strong ride to first place and Vico Deng (‘20) rode beautifully to second in her IHSA debut.  After all the points were tallied, the team finished the show as High Point Champion. Team Results for Morning Show are as follows:
MHC – 32
SHU – 29
UConn – 26
CCSU – 12
UMass – 9

After a lunch break, the second show of the day was off and running. We started off with two splits of Beginner. First Cindy Ma (‘18) and Zhuoran Yu (‘18) put in strong rides to first and sixth, respectively. This ride pointed Cindy out of Beginner and into Inter I, and earned her a ticket to Regionals. Then in the second split, our cowgirls swept the class: Vico Deng (‘20) earned first place, Meilian Wu (‘18)  earned second place, and Izzy Baird (‘20) earned third place. With these rides, Meilian and Izzy both pointed out of Beginner and qualified for Regionals. We then saw our cowgirls sweep Inter I, with Emilia Palascak (‘21) placing first and Nana Honda (‘19) placing second.  With two big splits of Intermediate II we saw Rachel Lenihan (‘18) and Alex Nesci (‘20) put in beautiful rides to earn fourth and reserve, respectively. In the second split of Inter II, Lily DeBenedictis had a fantastic ride to first place. We continued to the Novice division which was divided into two splits. The first split saw a beautiful first place ride from Meagan Rodriguez (‘19). In the second split, Robin Graney (‘18) put in an impressive ride to earn 5th in a very competitive class. Afterwards, there were two splits of Advanced. In the first split, we saw another wonderful ride from Amber Rieger (‘19) which won her first place. In the second split, Nicole Palmer (‘19) put in a beautiful ride to earn us another first place ribbon. The day ended with two more very strong rides from Juliana Ronn (‘18) to place first in Open Horsemanship and second in Open Reining, earning her High Point honors. The team ended up with High Point Honor again in the second show. Team afternoon show results:
MHC – 38
SHU – 24
CCSU – 19
UMass – 12
UConn – 12

Regional Team Standings:
SHU – 235
MHC – 232
UMass – 157
UConn – 155
CCSU – 100

High Point Rider Standings:
Juliana Ronn – 92
Devon Conley – 73
Emilie Hernandez – 59
Alexis Pascal – 42
Jessica Sikorski – 33

MHC Regional Qualifiers:
Open Reining – Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Open Horsemanship – Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Novice – Nicole Palmer (‘19)
Intermediate – Meagan Rodriguez (‘19), Robin Graney (‘18)
Beginner – Olivia Laursen (‘19), Cindy Ma (’18), Meilian Wu (’18), Izzy Baird (’20)


Mount Holyoke College IHSA Show 12/3/17

Our team of star cowgirls had a wonderful time showing and hosting our Home Show Double Header this Sunday. Many thanks to all those who came out to support us — Alums, Parents, and the Mount Holyoke community, the shows would not be the same without you!

After horse warm ups, the day began with a Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) putting in a strong ride for fourth place in Open Reining. Up next we had Amber Rieger (‘19) show off with a great ride to the win in Advanced Horsemanship! Then we saw two splits of Novice. The first split featured Robin Graney (‘18) and Nicole Palmer (‘19), who swept the class with first and second place finishes respectively. With this placing, Nicole pointed out, launching her into Advanced and qualifying her for Regionals! In the second split, Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) had a nice ride, placing fourth. Next, Juliana Ronn (‘18) placed first in Open Horsemanship, qualifying her for Regionals! Following that, we had three splits of Intermediate II. In the first split, Alex Nesci (‘20) earned fifth place. Sophie Thorson (‘21) rode to fourth in the next split, and Layla Walker (‘20) closed out Intermediate II with a second place ribbon in the third split. Then our riders swept the two splits of Intermediate I. Olivia Laursen (’19) put in a sensational ride for the win in the first split and, in her IHSA debut, Ella Sevier (’20) put in a great ride for the win in the second split. With her win, Olivia pointed into Intermediate II.  Our Beginner riders bid the morning show adieu in pairs: Xingdi Ma (‘18) and Zhuoran Yu (‘18) swept the first split with first and second respectively. Meilian Wu (‘18) and Daria Rassoulian (‘19) both put in great rides to finish second and sixth respectively.

To finish up the show, the Alumni division entered the ring. Bryanne MacDonald (MHC ’15) put in a nice ride for fifth. MHC’s Hunt Seat Assistant Coach, Tara Mathews (UConn ’08) put in a stellar effort for first place in the same class.

After all the points were tallied, MHC finished the show as High Point Champion team with 32 points. Team Results for Morning Show:
MHC – 32
SHU – 29
UCONN – 27
UMASS – 18
CCSU – 13


The lunch break flew by and before we knew it, we were back in the ring for the second show of the day. The second show began with wonderful rides in Alum by Bryanne MacDonald (MHC ’15) and Tara Mathews (UConn ’08) for fifth and first places respectively.

Our fearless leader Juliana Ronn (‘18) then showed in Opening Reining. After a re-ride she placed second. She also placed third in Open Horsemanship two classes later, making her High Point Reserve Rider for the afternoon show. After the Reining,  Amber Rieger (’19) and Nicole Palmer showed their stuff in Advanced Horsemanship, placing second and fourth respectively. Robin Graney (‘18) and Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) then held their own in two splits of Novice, Robin riding gracefully to first in the first split and Meagan placing third in the second split. After Open Horsemaship, it was time for our Intermediate II cowgirls to enter the ring in 3 splits. Alex Nesci (‘20) and Layla Walker (’20) rode to the win and fourth place respectively in the first class. Next Sophie Thorson (‘21), rocked the second split, placing first as well. In the final split, Illianna Termuehlen (‘18) and Olivia Laursen (’19) put in great rides, placing third and fifth. MHC kept on truckin’ with Muyuan Li (’18) and Ella Sevier (’20) putting in awesome efforts for the win and reserve placings in Intermediate I.  Our riders made it all the way through a long and exciting day to the last class: Beginner! In the first of two splits, Daria Rassoulian (‘19) and Izzy Baird (‘20) rode well, placing fourth and fifth respectively. While we were sad to see the show come to an end, we were very proud of Xingdi Ma (’18) when she rode to second place in the last split of the day. The team rankings for the Afternoon Show:
SHU – 27
UCONN – 24
UMASS – 23
CCSU – 22
MHC – 21

Regional Team Standings:
SHU – 179
MHC – 165
UMASS – 136
UCONN – 117
CCSU – 69

High Point Rider Standings:
Juliana Ronn – 71
Devon Conley – 55
Alexis Pascal – 42
Emilie Hernandez – 42
Jessica Sikorski – 18

MHC Regional Qualifiers:
Open Reining – Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Open Horsemanship – Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Novice – Nicole Palmer (‘19)
Intermediate – Meagan Rodriguez (‘19), Robin Graney (‘18)
Beginner – Olivia Laursen (‘19)


Sacred Heart University IHSA Show 11/19/17

The Western Team had a wonderful time showing at the SHU Double Header yesterday! We are happy to have ended the day with to have tied for High Point honor for the first show and the Reserve High Point honor of the second show.

Sunday morning we attended our second show this season, hosted by Sacred Heart University  in Connecticut. The day began with Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) a beautiful ride to place second in Open Horsemanship. Up next we had Amber Rieger (‘19) putting in a great ride to place second in the only split of Advanced. We then saw two splits of Novice, in the first split Megean Rodriguez (‘19) made her Novice debut with a wonderful ride to third followed by Nicole Palmer (‘19)  with a beautiful ride to second in the next split. Next, Open Reining was completed with an impressive ride from Juliana Ronn (‘18) in which she placed first, earning her high point honors for the morning show. Following we had three splits of Intermediate II. In the first split Sophie Thorson (‘21) had a great ride to fourth and Robin Graney (‘18) rode to second which placed her out of Inter II and into Novice. In the second and third splits, Gillian Seibel (‘18) and Illianna Termuehlen (‘18) both placed fifth in two very competitive splits. Intermediate I followed with a great ride from Olivia Laursen (‘19) to first. Last but not least, we saw three splits of Beginner. In the first split Melian Wu (‘18) had a great ride into second. Next in the second split Daria Rassoulian (‘19) had a strong ride to fourth. The third and final split saw Xingdi Ma (‘18) with a stellar ride to fourth place.

After all the points were tallied, the team finished to tie the show as High Point Champion. Team Results for the Morning Show:
SHU – 33
MHC – 33
UMass – 24
UConn – 19
CCSU – 10

After a lunch break, the second show of the day was off and running. We started off with two splits of Beginner. First Meilian Wu (‘18) put in another strong ride to first place. Then in the second split Zhuoran Yu (‘18) had a great ride to fourth and Izzy Baird (‘20) earned us another first place. We then saw Olivia Laursen with an awesome ride to place fifth in Intermediate I. With three big splits of Intermediate II we saw Layla Walker (‘20) start of the first split with a fourth place ride. In the next split Illianna Termuehlen (‘18) and Tori Glidden (‘19) both with beautiful rides to fourth and third respectively. We finished off the division with a great ride from Shannon O’Connor (‘18) to fourth as well. We continued to the Novice division which was divided into two splits. The first split saw two beautiful rides from Robin Graney (‘18) and Megean Rodriguez (‘19) to place fifth and fourth respectively. Next we saw another impressive ride from Amber Rieger (‘19) which placed her fifth in the competitive Advanced division. The day ended with two more very strong rides from Juliana Ronn (‘18) to place second in Open Horsemanship and first in Open Reining, once again earning High Point honors. 

The team ended up as Reserve Champions. Team results for the Afternoon Show:
SHU – 32
MHC – 26
UMass – 22
UConn – 21
CCSU – 8

Regional Team Standings:
SHU – 123
MHC – 112
UMass – 95
UConn – 66
CCSU – 34

High Point Rider:
Juliana Ronn – 52
Devon Conley – 38
Alexis Pascal – 30
Emilie Hernandez – 19
Jessica Sikorski – 7

MHC Regional Qualifiers:
Open Reining – Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Intermediate – Meagan Rodriguez (‘19), Robin Graney (‘18)
Beginner – Olivia Laursen (‘19)


UMASS IHSA Show 10/28/17
The Western Team had a great day showing at the UMass Double Header today! We are happy to have ended the day with Reserve High Point honor for the first show and tied with UMass for the High Point honor of the second show.

This morning we started off our first regular season show, hosted by UMass, at Michelle Carver Performance Horses in Connecticut. The day began with Nicole Palmer (‘19) putting in a strong ride to finish just out of the ribbons in Novice. With no one in Intermediate I next up we had two splits of Intermediate II. In the first split Tori Glidden (‘19)  made her IHSA debut with a strong ride to sixth place. Also in the class, Layla Walker (‘20) showed off with a stellar ride for first place. In the second split, Robin Graney (‘18) came back from a semester abroad in Ireland to place fourth in a competitive class. Next, Amber Rieger (‘19) made her Advanced debut with a beautiful ride for fourth place. After that we had two splits of Beginner. In the first split Izzy Baird (‘20) and Daria Rassoulian (‘19) (in her ISHA debut) swept the class placing first and second respectively. The second split saw Olivia Laursen (‘19) ride through a horse switch to nab first place. This ride pointed Olivia out of Beginner and into Inter I — congrats to our first Regional Qualifier for the season! We finished up the day with Juliana Ronn (‘18) placing first in both Open Horsemanship and Open Reining, earning her high point honors for the morning show.

After all the points were tallied, the team finished the show as reserve champion. Team Results for Morning Show:

SHU – 35
MHC – 27
UMass – 23
UConn – 13
CCSU – 9

After a quick lunch break, the second show of the day was up and running. To start off, Juliana Ronn (‘18) had another beautiful pattern and horsemanship class placing first in Open Reining and Open Horsemanship, and again was awarded High Point Rider honors. Next up, our two riders in the Beginner class, Daria Rassoulian (‘19) and Izzy Baird (‘20), had wonderful rides, placing first and second respectively. Then we saw another strong ride by Amber Rieger (‘19) in Advanced, placing sixth. In the first of two Intermediate II splits, we saw Alex Nesci (‘20) place just outside the ribbons and Sophie Thorson (‘21) ride to third. The next split saw Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) with a stellar ride to first place. This pointed her out of Inter II and qualified her for Regionals! Intermediate I was up next, with Olivia Laursen’s (‘19) division debut, where she loped to a first place finish. We wrapped up the show with another great ride by Nicole Palmer (‘19) to place fifth in Novice.

The team ended up tied for Champion with UMass. Team afternoon show results:
MHC – 26
UMass – 26
SHU – 23
UConn – 13
CCSU – 9

Regional Team Standings:
SHU – 58
MHC – 53
UMass – 49
UConn – 26
CCSU – 18

High Point Rider:
Juliana Ronn – 28
Devon Conley – 19
Alexis Pascal – 17

MHC Regional Qualifiers:
Intermediate – Meagan Rodriguez (‘19)
Beginner – Olivia Laursen (‘19)

We are looking forward to keeping the team’s momentum going, at Sacred Heart on November 19th. In the meantime, remember to follow the team on Social Media — Facebook, Instagram, the team website!


MHC Western at Crimson Acres Scrimmage, 10/01/17

With a roster of returning members as well as some fresh blood, we attended the Crimson Acres Scrimmage in Orange, MA to kick off our season, and came away the Champion Team of the day with the most total points at the show!

On this bright but chilly Sunday our captain Juliana Ronn rode first for MHC in IHSA Open Reining grabbing 3rd Place, then again later in IHSA Open Horsemanship, claiming 1st.  Also reining for the team were Amber Reiger in IHSA Advanced Reining, and Nicole Palmer, IHSA Novice Reining earning, 4th Place and 5th Place respectively. Amber also rode IHSA Advanced Horsemanship (no placing), and Nicole took 3rd place in IHSA Novice Horsemanship.

In IHSA Intermediate Horsemanship we had team members riding in three different splits: Tori Glidden and Layla Walker rode in split A, where Layla placed 6th and Tori did not place. In Split B we cheered on our manager Meagan Rodriguez, who received 6th place, as well as Sarah Adler and Alex Nesci, both of whom did not place. Last in Intermediate we had Sophie Thorson and Ella Sevier in Split C. Sophie Thorson made the most of her first show with MHC by grabbing 1st in her split, and Ella earned 4th place.

Lastly our riders in IHSA Beginner Horsemanship wowed us by sweeping the class. All beginner riders placed, with Meilian Wu in 1st, Zhuoran Yu in 2nd, Daria Rassoulian in 3rd, Izzy Baird in 4th and last but not least Cindy Ma in 5th place.

We are ecstatic to start off our season as 2017 Crimson Acres Scrimmage Champions, and will carry the excitement and determination of team as well as personal victories through the coming season. Make sure to check out the Crimson Acres slideshow in our gallery, and follow us on social media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mhcwestern/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mhcwestern/


2016-2017 Season

MHC Western at IHSA Nationals, 5/4-5/17
What an amazing few days we had at IHSA Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky! Three riders (Nana Honda, Madeline Ketley, and Emily Hermance), along with Coach Kelli Wainscott, Westfield State alumna and friend of the team Tammy Cranouski, and captain extraordinaire Juliana Ronn (‘18), headed south to attend the competition. We spent four days at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena, cheering on the MHC Hunt Seat Team and putting in some stellar Western riding of our own. We also had plenty of fun along the way and celebrated the IHSA’s 50th anniversary on Friday night!

Madeline Ketley (‘17) was the first class for MHC in the Individual Intermediate Western Horsemanship. She and her horse Ruthie were a perfect match and rocked the rail portion of the class. Madeline managed to hold a spot on the rail all by herself, staying out of traffic and showing her skills at the jog, extended jog, and lope in full view of the judges. She then put in an excellent pattern, showing a nicely collected lope transition to a jog, walk, and halt. At the awards ceremony, Madeline earned 8th place overall in the nation for her combined efforts on the rail and in the pattern. We are so proud of Madeline, who also placed 8th last year at Nationals in the Beginner division and who has worked hard to become the cowgirl she is today!

Nana Honda (‘19) immediately followed in the Individual Beginner Western Horsemanship division. She drew a gentle reiner named Trigger who gave his all for her both on the rail and in the pattern. Nana stood out for her beautiful lines and great spot on the rail, and Trigger’s palomino coloring helped her stand out even more! After a well-planned out pattern, showing off her impressive control of the extended jog, Nana received an honorable mention for her efforts. We congratulate Nana on all her hard work these last two years and are incredibly proud of her; earning a spot to compete at Nationals is no small feat, and we cannot wait to see her back in action next year.

Emily Hermance (‘17) rounded out the competition for MHC with the last class of the show, Individual Novice Western Horsemanship. Aboard a talented little mare called Addie, she put in stunning work on the rail and drew the judges’ eye for her excellent position and control over her horse’s gaits. Her pattern was well-executed, and Emily showed off beautiful and seamless simple lead changes and square turns at the lope. At the awards presentation, Emily was presented with 9th place, an impressive feat for our rider who only began riding in the Beginner division at MHC four years ago. There’s a reason that the team awarded her the “How Far She’s Come” superlative at our final meeting this year; we’re so proud of her!

Make sure to check out our team’s Facebook page (Mount Holyoke College Western Riding Team) for photos and video of the three live-streamed rides.

We’d like to take a moment to thank Kelli for coaching and supporting us through such a big competition and all year! We would also like to congratulate her for being selected as a National steward for the Western competition. We are also very grateful to Tammy for supporting our riders through both Semis and Nationals; she has gone above and beyond for this team. Lastly, we would like to thank Juliana for all her hard work as both a captain and a friend through these last few days; we don’t know what we would have done without her!

That’s all from MHC Western this season! As always, we’re incredibly grateful for all the support from our wonderful MHC equestrian community. We’re very excited for what next season has in store and wish our graduating seniors all the best in their future endeavors. We hope that they’ll come back and visit soon!


MHC Western at Semi Finals, 3/25 and 3/26/17
On Thursday 3/23, MHC Western sent four cowgirls to compete at the Semi Final Championships hosted by St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Our qualifiers were Nana Honda (‘19) in Beginner, Madeline Ketley (‘17) in Intermediate, Emily Hermance (‘17) in Novice, and Juliana Ronn (‘18) in Open Horsemanship and Reining. These riders were joined by Coach Kelli Wainscott and Westfield State alumna Tammy Cranouski, as well as by Emily and Juliana’s families!

The first day of competition kicked off with Juliana in Open Horsemanship. She put in gorgeous railwork and then completed a well-planned pattern, looking right at home with the other competitors. Although she did not receive a callback for Horsemanship, we saw her bright and early the next morning for Reining. Juliana made the most of a tricky draw, laying down a strong pattern to finish just outside the ribbons in a very competitive class of sixteen riders. We’d like to take this chance to congratulate our incredible captain on a very successful season: in just her second year of riding Western and first of competing Reining, Juliana showed herself to be one of the top Open riders in the country. We are very proud of her and cannot wait to see her in action next season; we know that her Western future is very bright!

The MHC entries continued with our Novice rider Emily. After stunning railwork, she then laid down a terrific pattern, earning a callback to Sunday’s finals. In the finals, she again put in a tremendous effort on the rail and in the pattern despite a nervous horse. The judges swapped her onto a new horse to ride the pattern again, and Emily wowed them, placing third in the class and earning herself a ticket to Nationals! This was Emily’s third time competing (and placing!) at Semi Finals, and we are so excited to see her take the ring in Kentucky.

Nana then took the ring for Beginner Horsemanship. In a strong split of riders, she showed excellently on the rail and followed up with a well-executed pattern that earned her a spot in the finals. On Sunday, Nana rode flawlessly on the rail, finishing up her class with a strong pattern. When the results were called, Nana earned fourth and a place at Nationals! We are so proud of all her hard work this season and cannot wait to see her compete in Lexington.

Last on Saturday for MHC was Madeline in Intermediate. After excellent railwork, she executed an equally strong pattern in a very competitive split of riders, earning a callback to the finals. On Sunday, she gave it her all on the rail and in the pattern and was named the Reserve Champion of the class! This qualified her for a spot at Nationals. We are so happy and proud to see her headed to Nationals for the second year in a row!

In between all the showing, we had some time to explore North Carolina and have some (non-horse) fun! On Friday, we visited the North Carolina Zoo and loved walking around the exhibits; it was just what we needed before heading into two intense days of competition! On Saturday night, we enjoyed some incredible barbeque and great music at the show’s “Pig pickin’ and country pluckin’” evening event. And, of course, we had plenty of fun during the show itself! MHC was even in charge of running the official North Carolina Semis Snapchat account, and Coach Kelli, Tammy, Juliana, and Emily had a great time documenting the competition!

Over the next month, Emily, Madeline, and Nana will be training hard to prepare for Nationals at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington from May 4-7; our three cowgirls will be competing on Sunday, May 7th. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us and our whole team up to this point, and we are looking forward to more great rides in May!

Make sure you’re following us on social media: we have some great shots from Semis up on Facebook and Instagram!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mhcwestern/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mhcwestern/


MHC Western at Regionals, 3/12/17
This morning, the MHC Western Team braved the cold and traveled to Orange, Massachusetts for the Zone 1 Regional Championship Show!

After horse warm-ups we had a Mardi Gras themed horse draw complete with beads and masks! Then we had a Senior Ceremony where we wished six MHC seniors the best! The team’s seniors are: Elizabeth Asal, Emily Hermance, Megan Johnson, Madeline Ketley, Sasha Neri-DuFour, and Lucy Nuzum.

Then the show day began with Open Reining where Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) laid down a great pattern and earned the Regional Champion title! The MHC cowgirls then had a brief break where they watched Alumni Reining and Advanced Horsemanship. Next, there were two splits of Intermediate Horsemanship in which we saw Madeline Ketley (‘17), Sasha Neri-DuFour (’17), Nicole Palmer (‘19), and Amber Rieger (’19) take the ring. All of our riders put in strong rides and after the rail work, Madeline and Amber were called back to ride in the Intermediate Championship class at the end of the day.

Next up was Beginner Horsemanship with Nanako Honda (’19) and Elizabeth Asal (’17). Both riders put in stellar rail work and rode well through their patterns. Lizzy earned 4th and Nana was named the Regional Champion!

Then we saw senior Emily Hermance in Novice Horsemanship. Emily put in yet another lovely ride for MHC and earned Reserve Regional Champion! Juliana Ronn (’18) then returned to the ring for Open Horsemanship, where she ended up Reserve Regional Champion.

After Alumni Horsemanship, Madeline and Amber returned to the ring for the Intermediate Championship class. Both rode very well on the rail and in their patterns. After the pattern work, all of the Intermediate riders were called back into the ring for placings. Nicole placed 12th, Sasha placed 10th, Amber placed 6th, and Madeline was the Regional Champion!

With these placings we will see Juliana, Emily, Madeline, and Nana at Semi Finals, hosted by St. Andrews University, in North Carolina in just a few weeks! We are so excited for those riders and proud of all of our regional qualifiers as they all put in great rides! We are also grateful to everyone who has supported our team this season and look forward to more great rides from our cowgirls in the future!


MHC Western Concludes Regular Season, 2/18/17 and 2/19/17
This weekend, the MHC Western Team concluded its regular season for 2016-2017 with three shows: a doubleheader home show on 2/18 and an afternoon show on 2/19 hosted by UConn. At our doubleheader, we earned third place team for the first show and Reserve High Point College for the second. We continued our strong riding at the UConn show to again earn Reserve High Point College honors. We are very proud of all our riders, both showing and non-showing, for all their hard work, both this weekend and this entire season!

Home doubleheader, 2/18:
First, we would like to thank everyone who came to support us for these two shows! We always love having our family and friends come out to support us, and we are especially grateful to the many members of the Hunt-Seat and Dressage teams who warm-up rode, horse-held, and cheered us on throughout the day. A special thank-you goes out to Crimson Acres for shipping in eleven incredible horses and for supporting us all day long. We are tremendously grateful for all their help!

We kicked the day off with two strong splits of Beginner. Zhuoran Yu (‘19) and Olivia Laursen (‘19) both put in excellent railwork to receive second and fifth place respectively, while Lizzy Asal (‘17) brought home the blue in the second split. Intermediate I saw Illianna Termuehlen (‘19) with a beautiful ride to earn third.

The large Intermediate II division began with Megan Johnson (‘17) and Lucy Nuzum (‘17) riding well for third and sixth place finishes. Then, in the second split, Layla Walker (‘20) made her IHSA debut with a gorgeous ride for first, and Sasha Neri-duFour (FP ‘17) claimed a clean third. The division concluded with nice rides from Rachel Lenihan (‘18) and Amber Rieger (‘19), earning third and fifth.

In the first split of Novice, Nicole Palmer (‘19) handled several tough situations in the ring like a true cowgirl and received fourth place. Madeline Ketley (‘17) followed in the second split to also earn fourth. Advanced then saw a lovely ride from Emily Hermance (‘17) to place fifth. Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) rounded out the day with strong railwork in Open Horsemanship and an equally strong pattern in Reining, receiving third place for both rides and earning a ticket to Regionals in both classes!

After a short break for second warm-ups and coaches’ meeting, the second show was off! Captain Juliana (‘18) started us off with a flawless pattern in Reining to earn second and then followed up with a strong effort in Open Horsemanship to receive fifth. Emily Hermance (‘17) then returned to the ring in the Advanced division with another solid and well-executed ride, for which she earned third. Novice again saw two strong efforts from Nicole Palmer (‘19) and Madeline Ketley (‘17), who rode their hardest to earn fourth and first place finishes respectively.

The first split of Intermediate II saw two beautiful rides from two of our senior riders: Lucy Nuzum earned second with a gorgeous ride and Sasha Neri-duFour placed fourth! Immediately following, Amber Rieger (‘19) brought home another second for MHC while Megan Johnson (‘17) put in a solid class to receive fifth. The division finished with Rachel Lenihan (‘18), who had a lovely ride for third, and Gillian Seibel (‘20), who made her IHSA debut with a beautiful ride for fifth!

Intermediate I saw another stellar ride from Illianna Termuehlen (‘18), whose blue-ribbon finish pointed her out into Intermediate II!  Our Beginners then wrapped up the day for us in style. Meilian Wu (‘20) and Lizzy Asal (‘17) swept their split with lovely first and second place rides. Congratulations to Meilian for a beautiful IHSA debut and to Lizzy, who pointed out into Intermediate I and earned herself a ticket to Regionals! Zhuoran Yu (‘19) and Olivia Laursen (‘19) then put in a tremendous effort in the final split of the day, earning fourth and third place finishes.

UConn, 2/19:
It was back in the saddle on Sunday for many of our cowgirls!

Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) started the day in style with two impressive rides in Reining and Open Horsemanship, for which she earned first and second place ribbons. We want to congratulate our captain on a job well-done: this was her first season in Open (and second year of Western riding!), and she nailed it! Today she earned Reserve High Point Rider honors!

In Advanced, Emily Hermance (‘17) put in stunning railwork to earn third in her class. Next up, in a combined Novice class, we saw Nicole Palmer (‘19) and Madeline Ketley (‘17) ride their hearts out on two tricky draws, earning fourth and third place finishes, respectively.

Intermediate II began with three MHC riders in the first split. Sasha Neri-duFour (FP ‘17) qualified for Regionals with her fourth place ride while Rachel Lenihan (‘18) handled a spooky horse well to earn fifth. Lucy Nuzum (‘17) also had a beautiful ride in this split but was unfortunately disqualified due to an equipment issue. In the second split, Illianna Termuehlen (‘18) made her division debut with a lovely ride to first, with Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) and Layla Walker (‘20) following with strong rides for fourth and fifth. In the final split, Amber Rieger (‘19) became our second Regional qualifier of the day with a great first place ride, and Megan Johnson (‘17) put in excellent railwork for third.

In Intermediate I, Nana Honda (‘19) made her loping debut with a strong ride for the fourth place ribbon. Then, in Beginner, Meilian Wu (‘20) and Zhuoran Yu (‘19) put in excellent rides, earning second and third respectively. Finally, Cindy Ma (‘18) and Olivia Laursen (‘19) both had beautiful railwork to place third and fourth.

We are proud of our cowgirls for working so hard at this last show and are so excited to have earned Reserve High Point Team honors for the day!

You’ll catch us next at Regionals in Orange, MA on March 12th, where we will see many of the wonderful Crimson Acres horses that came to our doubleheader. Until then, our Regionals riders will be working hard to earn their tickets to Semi-Finals, and all our riders will be fine-tuning their riding in preparation for the 2017-2018 season.

Final High Point Team standings:
SHU – 319 (Regional Champion)
MHC – 285 (Reserve Regional Champion)
UConn – 235
UMass – 184
Post – 76
BSU – 39
CCSU – 37
CC – 5

Final High Point Rider standings:
Abigail Williams (SHU) – 100
Juliana Ronn (MHC) – 80
Carly Aravena (Post) – 65
Lauren Consoli (UConn) – 59
Hayley Mena (SHU) – 48
Mackenzie Raucher (UMass) – 36

Regional qualifiers:
Beginner: Lizzy Asal (‘17), Nana Honda (‘17)
Intermediate: Madeline Ketley (‘17), Sasha Neri-duFour (FP ‘17), Nicole Palmer (‘19), Amber Rieger (‘19)
Novice: Emily Hermance (‘17)
Open Horsemanship: Juliana Ronn (‘18)
Reining: Juliana Ronn (‘18)


MHC Western at UConn, 2/12/17
On Saturday 2/12, the MHC Western Team traveled to Storrs, Connecticut for the first show of the semester, hosted by UConn. Although the morning show of this intended doubleheader was rescheduled due to the snow, we made it out for a very successful afternoon of showing. All our riders have been working so hard both in and out of the arena which paid off in a big way: we earned High Point College, tying with host team UConn, for the day!

Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) started off the day with a beautiful ride in Reining to receive third place. She then returned to the ring for Horsemanship, where she rode well to earn second. Immediately following, Emily Hermance (‘17) entered the ring for Advanced. Despite a tough draw and necessary horse switch, she handled her ride with composure and was awarded fourth place for her efforts. Two splits of Novice were up next, in which Nicole Palmer (‘19) put in gorgeous railwork for a blue ribbon and Madeline Ketley (‘17) rode well to earn the third place ribbon.

Intermediate II was the biggest division of the day, with seven riders from Mount Holyoke competing. In the first split, Amber Rieger (‘19), Valerie Avery (‘18), and Alex Nesci (‘20) all put in strong rides to receive first, fourth, and sixth, respectively. This show marked Alex’s IHSA debut, as well as Valerie’s first show after returning from her semester abroad in Ireland! Following these three riders, Megan Johnson (‘17) and Lucy Nuzum (‘17) entered the ring and put in a great effort on the rail, riding to third and reserve, respectively. In the final split, Sasha Neri-duFour (FP ‘17) made her Inter II debut with a lovely ride for first, and Rachel Lenihan (‘18) made her IHSA debut with a strong ride for sixth.

Intermediate I saw Illianna Termuehlen’s (‘18) division debut and first show back from her semester abroad in France; she nailed her railwork to take home the blue! After the loping divisions concluded, our Beginner riders wrapped up the show in style for MHC. In the first split, Olivia Laursen (‘19) earned her first blue ribbon, and Cindy Ma (‘18) rode beautifully for fifth. Nana Honda (‘19), in the second split, put in a lovely ride for first. With this ride, Nana pointed out into Intermediate I and qualified for Regionals in Beginner!

Day-end team points:
MHC – 30 pts
UConn – 30 pts
SHU – 29 pts
UMass – 14 pts
BSU – 5 pts
CC – 4 pts
CCSU – 3 pts

High Point College standings:
SHU – 217 pts
MHC – 205 pts
UConn – 167 pts
UMass – 126 pts
Post – 76 pts
BSU – 29
CCSU – 14 pts
CC – 5 pts

High Point Rider standings:
Abigail Williams (SHU) – 64 pts
Carly Aravena (Post) – 54 pts
Juliana Ronn (MHC) – 53 pts
Lauren Consoli (UConn) – 49 pts
Hayley Mena (SHU) – 36 pts
Mackenzie Raucher (UMass) – 26 pts

Regional qualifiers so far:
Beginner: Nana Honda (‘19)
Intermediate: Nicole Palmer (‘19), Madeline Ketley (‘17)
Novice: Emily Hermance (‘17)

Our regular season will conclude this weekend with a triple-header: a double-header hosted at home on 2/18 and an afternoon show at UConn on 2/19. We are closing in on Sacred Heart’s lead and are in the hunt for the Regional Champion title. Wish us luck (and come out to watch us ride if you’re in the area!) as we prepare for this last weekend of competition!


Western looks forward to spring 2017!

It was a busy fall for our team with six shows, and we are very grateful for all the support we received from our coaches, barn community, and family and friends. Our season will resume shortly with two doubleheaders: hosted by UConn on February 11th and by Mount Holyoke on February 18th. Tryouts are January 28th, and we can’t wait to welcome back our returning riders and hopefully meet new teammates!

Below are the Regional standings (High Point Team, High Point Rider, and Regional qualifiers so far) in preparation for the remainder of the season.

Teams:
SHU – 188 pts
MHC – 175 pts
UConn – 137 pts
UMass – 112 pts
Post – 76 pts
BSU – 24 pts
CCSU – 11 pts
CC – 1 pts

High Point Rider:
Carly Aravena (Post) – 54
Abigail Williams (SHU) – 54
Juliana Ronn (MHC) – 44
Lauren Consoli (UConn) – 38
Hayley Mena (SHU) – 31
Mackenzie Raucher (UMass) – 26

MHC Regional qualifiers:

Novice – Emily Hermance (‘17)
Intermediate – Madeline Ketley (‘17), Nicole Palmer (‘19)


MHC Western finishes the fall season with a triple-header weekend, 12/3/16 and 12/4/16
The Western Team finished up a very successful fall semester with a triple-header weekend, with two shows hosted at home on 12/3 and an afternoon show hosted by Sacred Heart the next day. We are very pleased to report that MHC walked away with top three placings as a team in all three shows and earned High Point and Reserve High Point honors in two of the shows!

MHC doubleheader:
We started our doubleheader at home with Intermediate I. Sasha Neri-Dufour (FP ‘17) earned fifth place in her split while Neva Shinder (‘20) finished just outside the ribbons in the same class. This show marked Neva’s IHSA debut, and we were so excited to see her take the ring! Intermediate II followed after, in which Nicole Palmer (‘19) picked up first place for her ride, and Lucy Nuzum (‘17) finished just outside the ribbons with a strong effort. With this ride, Nicole pointed out of Intermediate II into Novice and qualified for Regionals! In the final split, MHC swept first and second place, with superb rides from Megan Johnson (‘17) and Amber Rieger (‘19).

The first split of Beginner started out with another sweep of the top two spots, with Nana Honda (‘19) and Olivia Laursen (‘19) putting in great rides for first and second, respectively. Lizzy Asal (‘17) then finished up the division for the morning with a lovely ride to claim first place.

The upper divisions began with a fifth place ride from captain Juliana Ronn (‘18), who put in an excellent effort. Emily Hermance (‘17) then brought home first place for her ride in Novice, and Emily Joyner (‘17) earned second in Advanced. The morning show finished with a phenomenal reining pattern from Juliana, which earned her first place!

Team results for the morning show:
MHC – 35 pts
SHU – 32 pts
UMass – 21 pts
UConn – 15 pts
Post – 11 pts
CCSU – 2 pts
BSU – 0 pts

Following a short break and second warm-ups, the afternoon show began with Open Reining, where Juliana Ronn (‘18) again put in a strong pattern for sixth place. Emily Joyner (‘17) then followed in Advanced to earn fourth. The show continued with two splits of Novice, the first of which saw Nicole Palmer’s (‘19) division debut ride to second place. Emily Hermance (‘17) finished up the division with a third place effort, which pointed her out into Advanced and qualified her for Regionals in Novice! The upper divisions concluded with a great ride from Juliana in Open Horsemanship to place fourth.

Two splits of Beginner were next, with Nana Honda (‘19) and Zhuoran Yu (‘19) sweeping their section with lovely first and second place rides. Lizzy Asal (‘17) then wrapped up the division for the day with a strong ride for third.

Intermediate II was next, which saw a strong ride from Megan Johnson (‘17) in the first split to receive sixth place. In the second split, Madeline Ketley (‘17) and Lucy Nuzum (‘17) rode to first and fifth with great rides. Madeline was our third Regional qualifier of the day as, with this ride, she pointed out into Novice! Sasha Neri-Dufour (FP ‘17) finished up the day for Mount Holyoke with an excellent ride in Intermediate I for the blue ribbon. With this ride, she pointed out into Intermediate II!

Team results for the afternoon show:
SHU – 31
UConn – 28
MHC – 25
UMass – 18
Post – 11
CCSU – 2
BSU – 0

A special thank-you goes out to all the members of the MHC Equestrian community who helped us run these two shows! We are very grateful to everyone who came to horse hold, warm up, and support us. A thank-you additionally goes to Karen Black and Clark Performance Horses for shipping in so many wonderful horses!

SHU show:
After finishing up at our doubleheader, we then headed to Sacred Heart University for the third and final show of the weekend. The judge thoroughly tested every class, and we were thrilled to see our riders step up to the challenge so well.

The day began with a lovely ride from Juliana Ronn (‘18) in Open Horsemanship, for which she earned fourth place. Division debut rides from two of our senior cowgirls came next: Emily Hermance took home second place in Advanced, and Madeline Ketley also earned second in Novice. Juliana then took the ring again for Open Reining and claimed her second blue of the weekend for her excellent pattern.

Three splits of Intermediate II followed. Megan Johnson (‘17) kicked things off to earn second in her split. Robin Graney (‘18) then followed with a great ride take home first in the second split. The division finished with Jannine Cooke’s (fall ‘17) excellent ride for third; this show marked Jannine’s IHSA debut! The loping classes concluded with a strong effort from Neva Shinder (‘20), who received sixth place in Intermediate I.

The Beginner division finished the day and saw great rides from our three riders. In the first split, Olivia Laursen (‘19) and Izzy Baird (‘20) earned excellent first and third place finishes. This show marked Izzy’s IHSA debut! Nana Honda (‘19) then wrapped things up with a strong ride to place third in the final split.

Once all the results were calculated, MHC received Reserve High Point College honors. We were so proud of all our riders for their hard work, this weekend and the whole semester!

Team results:
SHU – 36
MHC – 31
UConn – 18
UMass – 16
Post – 15
BSU – 5
CCSU – 2
CC – 1


Western brings home High Point and Reserve High Point honors at UMass doubleheader, 11/20/16
On November 20th, the Mount Holyoke Western Team headed out to a doubleheader show hosted by UMass at Michele Carver Performance Horses. Our team loved the chance to ride some great Western-broke horses and enjoyed getting plenty of feedback from the day’s two judges. Both judges presented the classes with a variety of IHSA tests including lots of extended jogging and no-stirrup work, and we are proud of our riders for rising so well to the challenge. We are also very proud to report that we earned High Point College honors for the morning show and Reserve High Point College honors in the afternoon! What a day!

The first show started off with a bang as Emily Hermance (’17) rode to the blue with an excellent ride in Novice. Sasha NeriDufour (FP ’17), in her IHSA debut, then followed Emily’s lead with a great ride in Intermediate I to also place first. We then saw four of our riders take the ring in three splits of Intermediate II. Senior riders Lucy Nuzum and Megan Johnson, making her first IHSA appearance, rode to strong fourth and fifth place finishes. Returning sophomores Nicole Palmer and Amber Rieger then put in stellar rides to earn first and second place finishes respectively.

The show continued with several splits of the Beginner division, which saw four excellent finishes from our newest riders. Lizzy Asal (’17) put in a great class to claim the blue, and Nana Honda (’19) also had a great ride for third. Zhouran Yu (’19) and Olivia Laursen (’19) both made their IHSA debuts with fantastic rides to finish third and fifth respectively.

We finished up the first show with Open Horsemanship, where captain Juliana Ronn (’18) put in excellent railwork for second place. We then saw an impressive ride from Emily Joyner (’17) in the Advanced division that also earned her second place. Juliana then returned to the ring to close out the show with Open Reining, riding well to place fourth.

Final show standings for the morning:
Mount Holyoke – 33 pts (High Point)
UConn – 26 pts (Reserve High Point)
SHU – 20
UMass – 18
Post – 15
BSU – 7
CCSU – 7

The action resumed in the afternoon with Juliana and Open Reining. Despite a fantastic effort, she unfortunately went off-pattern in her spins and was disqualified. This was only our captain’s third reining pattern in a show, and we are so proud of all her hard work! Advanced was next in the ring and saw another strong ride from Emily Joyner (’17) to again receive second place. Open Horsemanship followed with a superb ride from Juliana for second.

Emily Hermance (’17) then made her second appearance of the day in Novice, again putting in a fantastic set of railwork for first. Sasha NeriDufour (FP ’17) also made her second appearance of the day to place third in Intermediate I.

Four MHC riders then took the ring in various splits of Intermediate II. Nicole Palmer (’19) put in great railwork to claim third while Shannon O’Connor (’18) put in a strong ride to earn fourth. Lucy Nuzum (’17) returned to the ring with a very strong performance for second, with Meagan Rodriguez (’19) following closely in third after a great ride.

We concluded the second show with three splits of Beginner. Zhuoran Yu (’19) put in another great class to earn herself second place while Lizzy Asal (’17) also rode well to third. Nana Honda (’19) had a strong performance on the rail to receive second place, and Cindy Ma (’18) made her IHSA debut with a brilliant ride for fifth.

Final show standings for the afternoon:
SHU – 31 pts (High Point)
MHC – 26 pts (Reserve High point)
UConn – 20 pts
UMass – 16 pts
Post – 14 pts
BSU – 7 pts
CCSU – 0 pts

Thank you to all the friends and family who came to support us on Sunday! Our season resumes after Thanksgiving break with a doubleheader at home on December 3rd, followed by an afternoon show the next day at Sacred Heart. We hope to see many of you there, and we thank you for your continued support of our team!


MHC Western begins 2016-2017 season at Sacred Heart University, 10/29/16
On Saturday, the Mount Holyoke College Western Riding team headed to the first of our regular season shows, which was hosted by Sacred Heart University at Rolling M Ranch in Southbury, Connecticut.

Captain Juliana Ronn (‘18) started the day with her debut ride in Open Horsemanship, placing fourth. She then returned to the ring after another set of classes for her first reining pattern in a show. After laying down a fantastic pattern, Juliana earned second place, which guaranteed her Reserve High Point Rider honors for the show!

In Advanced, Emily Joyner (‘17) made her Western debut, riding well to fourth place. Emily Hermance (‘17) then followed in the Novice division with a lovely ride to third.

Intermediate II was the biggest division of the day and saw three MHC riders competing in separate splits. Lucy Nuzum (‘17) made her IHSA debut with a solid ride to fifth, and Madeline Ketley (‘17) then rode to a clean second. Meagan Rodriguez (‘19) wrapped up the division with a lovely ride to first.

With no riders entered in Intermediate I, MHC resumed the show with our two Beginner riders, who both made their IHSA debuts. Nana Honda (‘19) and Lizzy Asal (‘17) both had excellent rides in their respective splits to earn second and third place finishes.

Mount Holyoke finished third overall with 25 points, just behind UConn (30) and Sacred Heart University (38). UMass-Amherst (23), Post (11), Bridgewater State University (5), and CCSU (3) rounded out the day’s competition.

Congratulations to all the riders who showed and to all the team-members who came out to support. Special thank-you’s go to the O’Connor family and to two of our wonderful alumnae (former captain Bryanne Macdonald [‘15] and former co-manager Rebeca Baker [‘16]) for coming to support us. We resume our show season on November 20th with a double-header hosted by UMass, and we hope to see you there!


MHC Western Nationals at the Kentucky Horse Park, KY, 5/8/16
Very early in the morning on Friday May 6th, Coach Kelli, Team Captain Bonnie (’16), and Beginner walk/jog rider Madeline Ketley (’17) flew off to Kentucky for Madeline to compete in the 2016 IHSA National Finals. The group was joined by Tammy Cranouski, an alum from Westfield State University. Tammy was a huge help at Semi Finals where she placed 5th in the alum horsemanship, just missing being qualified for nationals. She is a huge supporter of IHSA and Mount Holyoke and we enjoyed her company for this trip.

The small contingent from the MHC Western team started off their adventure cheering on the MHC Hunt Seat team as they rode to a Reserve National Championship Team placing! The western part of the competition started, and the group enjoyed watching some reining patterns on Saturday morning and then left the show, switched cowboy hats for Derby hats, and went the Kentucky Derby!

Sunday was showtime! In the late afternoon after more reining pattern viewing and a very cute derby themed horse draw, Madeline mounted up on ‘Diablo’. Madeline was competing against the other top 11 Beginner Western Horsemanship (walk/jog) riders in the nation. Madeline and Diablo were well matched, and performed clean rail work and a well planned pattern. Her ride earned Madeline 8th in the Nation! We are so proud of her, and looking forward to another great season starting this Fall!
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MHC Western Semifinals at the University of Findlay, OH, 3/19/16
What a whirlwind weekend we had at Semi-Finals, hosted by the University of Findlay in Ohio! The team sent three riders to compete, as well as captain (and makeup artist extraordinaire) Bonnie Berkley and Coach CJ Law. When we got to Findlay, we met up with two alumnae riders who also qualified in Horsemanship from Zone One (Kayla Hawley and Tammy Cranouski) and MHC alumna Emily Murch, who qualified in Horsemanship and Reining.

Rebeca Baker (’16) started off our day in the first split of Novice Horsemanship. After strong and consistent work on the rail, Rebeca then laid down a fantastic pattern with clear transitions between gaits and an impressive extended lope circle. Although she wasn’t called back for the finals, Rebeca put in a great ride and has now shown twice at Findlay for MHC. We’re so proud of this incredible senior!

Madeline Ketley (’17) then gave a solid performance in Beginner and was called back to finals. After another set of strong railwork, her horse spooked three times in lineup at the clapping, and she was given another horse to ride the pattern. Despite the unexpected switch, Madeline laid down a great pattern with square corners and an extended jog circle. She was awarded first place and will be traveling to Kentucky in May for Nationals!

Emily Hermance (’17) was up next in Intermediate. After a very long railwork class during which two other riders received horse-switches, she stayed focused and rode a clean and impressive pattern. She was then called back to finals and placed 8th! Emily has now made finals in both Beginner and Intermediate, which is incredible considering that she only started riding and showing three years ago!

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MHC Western Regionals at UConn, 3/5/16
The MHC Cowgirls headed to UConn to compete in Regionals, with 7 ladies qualified for the show. The whole team came out to support these riders, and with the amazing help of Jen Wilda and Bryanne Macdonald (’15), our riders were very successful!

The day started out with beginners Madeline Ketley (’17) and Muyuan Li (’18). Both had beautiful rides on the rail and successful patterns. Muyuan finished fourth and Madeline won!

Next up was the biggest division, Intermediate. We had three riders in the class, Alexa Fifield (’16), Emily Hermance (’17), and Juliana Ronn (’18). All rode well on the rail and had nice patterns. After Emily and two other riders were switched and rode their patterns again, Emily earned Reserve! And, with two strong and impressive rides in a very competitive class, Alexa received third and Juliana was fifth.

Our last qualified riders were in Novice. Rebeca Baker (’16), and Bonnie Berkley (’16) both had great rides on the rail and in their patterns. Bonnie rode to a strong third, and Rebeca was the winner!

With these results, Madeline, Emily, and Rebeca will move on to Semifinals at Findlay in two weeks! The team earned fourth overall in the region, despite having no riders in Open Horsemanship or Reining for the whole season.


MHC Western at UConn, 2/28/15
Today the MHC cowgirls trekked to the University of Connecticut for a wonderful show.

Starting out the day, sophomore Illianna Termuehlen rode to the win in Beginner Horsemanship. Next up, in Intermediate I, Muyuan Li (’18) and Madeline Ketley (’17) had great rides. After rail work and patterns, Madeline topped the class and Muyuan came in fourth. With this win, Madeline pointed out of Inter I and into Inter II! Then in the first split of Intermediate II, a large class, Valerie Avery (’18) came in reserve and Meagan Rodriguez (’19) captured the fourth place ribbon. Robin Graney (’18) and Nicole Palmer (’19) swept the second split with first and second placings.

After another brief warm-up, Novice Horsemanship began. In the first split, Juliana Ronn (’18), in her Novice debut, rode to the win! MHC rider Emily Hermance (’17) also rode to the blue in the second split! Alexa Fifield (’16) was in the same split, and rode well to place fourth. Rounding out the day for MHC, seniors Bonnie Berkley and Rebeca Baker participated in a competitive Advanced Class. Rebeca placed sixth and Bonnie was reserve.

Even though the team is missing riders in Open Horsemanship and Reining, we finished up third with 22 points! The overall team standings were as follows:

SHU – 30 Points
UMass – 25 Points
MHC – 22 Points
UConn – 21 Points
Post – 8 Points

Next up, regionals! We will head back to UConn on Saturday where individual riders will show their stuff!

Riders qualified for Regionals:
Beginner: Muyuan Li, Madeline Ketley
Intermediate: Alexa Fifield, Emily Hermance, Juliana Ronn
Novice: Bonnie Berkley, Rebeca Baker

Stay tuned for more information next week!


MHC Western at MHC, 2/20/16
The MHC Cowgirls rose to the challenge of running a double-header home show this past weekend. We were lucky enough to have Jennifer Wilda on hand as interim coach, and help from team Alums Bryanne Macdonald (’15) and Cally Berg (’15). Still missing riders in Open Horsemanship and Reining, Rebeca Baker (’16) and Bonnie Berkley (’16) started us off with 4th and 5th placings respectively in a competitive Advanced class. Next up, Alexa Fifield (’16) rode to a 6th place finish in Novice. Then, in the first split of Beginner Horsemanship, Amy Hubbard (’17) and Muyuan Li (’18) placed 2nd and 3rd respectively. In the second split of Beginner, Illianna Termuehlen (’18) rode beautifully in her IHSA western debut, securing the second place ribbon. Then, Madeline Ketley (’17) had a great ride in Intermediate I, taking home the blue. The last of our team rides occurred in three splits of Intermediate II. In the first section Emily Hermance (’17) rode effectively to second place, pointing out and qualifying for regionals! In the same section, Shannon O’Connor (’18) had her western debut on a tough draw. She received a re-ride and ended up 5th. In the second section Valerie Avery (’18) rode to sixth place. MHC riders Juliana Ronn (’18) and Meagan Rodriguez (’19) swept the third section, receiving first and second.

We concluded the first show with Alumni Horsemanship. Hunt-Seat team manager and Alum rider, Laura Von der Porten made her western debut riding beautifully on one of her favorites, Skeeter, to win the class.

Overall Placings for the first show:
Sacret Hart – 34 Points
UConn – 24 (+) Points
UMass – 24 (-) Points
MHC – 15 Points
Post – 14 Points

After a brief lunch break and rewarm-up, we started off the second show with Alums. Laura Von der Porten rode well again to place second. Rebeca Baker (’16) and Bonnie Berkley (’16) then rode to 3rd and 4th place finishes in Advanced. Next up were two splits of Novice. In the first split Alexa Fifield (’16) rode beautifully to the win. Emily Hermance (’17) made her Novice debut in the second split, placing 5th. We then had two splits of Beginner, the first of which Illianna Termuehlen (’18) won with a beautiful ride. In the second split, Muyuan Li (’18) placed second, pointing out and qualifying for regionals! Amy Hubbard (’17) placed third in the same class. Intermediate I followed with another MHC win by Nicole Palmer (’19). The show finished up with three splits of Intermediate II. In the first split, Juliana Ronn (’18) placed third, pointing out and qualifying for regionals! In the second split, Robin Graney (’18) rode to second place, and in the third split Amber Rieger (’19) rode well and placed fourth.

Overall Placings for the second show:
Sacred Hart – 38 Points
UMass – 24 Points
UConn – 23 Points
MHC – 17 Points
Post – 9 Points

Riders qualified for regionals:
Madeline Ketley, ’17 – Beginner
Muyuan Li, ’18 – Beginner
Alexa Fifield, ’16 – Intermediate
Emily Hermance, ’17 – Intermediate
Juliana Ronn, ’18 – Intermediate
Rebeca Baker, ’16 – Novice
Bonnie Berkley, ’16 – Novice

We are so proud of how smoothly the shows ran, and grateful for the amazing show of support from all of MHC equestrian teams. We are looking forward to our next, and last, regular season show Sunday, February 28th, at UConn!


MHC Western at UConn, 11/21/15
Still missing riders from Open Horsemanship and Reining, the Mount Holyoke College Western team cowgirls are proving their mettle with incredible consistency. With four of six divisions filled, the team earned 24 points and a third-place finish at the show hosted by the University of Connecticut on November 21st. The Champion (SHU) and Reserve Champion (UMass) teams earned 28 and 25 points respectively, while UConn also earned 24 points. What a day! The show saw one debut ride, some tough draws, and, all in all, a fantastic effort from our team.

Sophomore Muyuan Li started off the day in Beginner, riding to her second consecutive first-place finish. In Intermediate I, junior Madeline Ketley followed her lead to also earn the blue.

Intermediate II, consistently the biggest class this season, had three splits. In the first split, senior Elizabeth Brija and first-year Meagan Rodriguez, in her IHSA debut show, placed 2nd and 5th with impressive rides. In the second split, senior Alexa Fifield and junior Emily Hermance rode to strong 2nd and 3rd places while, in the third split, sophomore Juliana Ronn picked up a clean 2nd. Congratulations to all these riders, and especially to Alexa, who pointed out into Novice and qualified for Regionals in Intermediate!

Captain and senior Bonnie Berkley then received her third consecutive 1st place after railwork and a clean pattern in Novice. With this ride, Bonnie pointed out into Advanced and qualified for Regionals in Novice! Finishing out the day, senior Rebeca Baker placed 2nd, again after railwork and a strong pattern.

Our final show of the fall season will be December 5th at the Mount Holyoke Equestrian Center. We hope you’ll be able to join us for what is sure to be a great way to end the season!

Below are the riders from MHC currently qualified for Regionals:
Madeline Ketley, ’17 – Beginner
Alexa Fifield, ’16 – Intermediate
Rebeca Baker, ’16 – Novice
Bonnie Berkley, ’16 – Novice

Points tally for the teams:
Champion – Sacred Heart University – 28 pts
Reserve Champion – University of Massachusetts-Amherst – 25 pts
Mount Holyoke College – 24 pts
University of Connecticut – 24 pts
Post University – 16 pts


MHC Western at UMass, 10/31/15
The MHC Western Team had a fantastic day at the double-header hosted by UMass-Amherst at their Connecticut barn! With many debut rides for our team, we established ourselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Region.

In the first show, senior Rebeca Baker opened the action with a clean ride to place second in Novice. With this ride, Rebeca pointed out into Advanced and qualified for Regionals! In the second split of Novice, senior-captain Bonnie Berkley rode excellently to win first. Next, in the first split of Intermediate I, junior Emily Hermance picked up first place and pointed out into Intermediate II. Then, to start off Inter II, senior Elizabeth Brija had a great ride to receive fourth. Next, sophomores Valerie Avery and Robin Graney (in her IHSA debut) rode to first and third places, clearly impressing the judge! In the final split of Inter II, sophomore Juliana Ronn (in her Western debut) and senior Alexa Fifield rode to strong first and fifth place finishes. In Beginner, junior Madeline Ketley rode to second place and pointed out into Intermediate I, thereby qualifying for Regionals as well!

First show stats:
Shu 31 [full team]
Umass 28 [full team]
Uconn 23 [full team]
Mhc 17 [no riders in class 14, 15, or 16]
Post 8 [no riders in class 11, 13, or 14]

To say that the MHC cowgirls stole the show in the afternoon would be an understatement, even though the morning show was quite impressive as well. With only four of six divisions filled, MHC brought in first-place ribbons in every division. We finished Reserve High Point Team, only missing High Point by one point. It’s worth saying again: only by one point and without a rider in Open or Open Reining!

In her first ever Advanced class, senior Rebeca Baker impressed the judge to win first place. Then, in the first of three splits of Intermediate II, sophomore Juliana Ronn and senior Elizabeth Brija kept the momentum going with fabulous first and fourth place finishes. In the second split, sophomore Amber Rieger (in her IHSA debut) placed first while senior Alexa Fifield picked up second, sweeping their split. In the final split, junior Emily Hermance (in her first Inter II class) and sophomore Robin Graney rode smoothly to second and fourth place ribbons. Then, in Intermediate I, first-year Nicole Palmer (in her IHSA debut) and junior Madeline Ketley (in her loping debut) rode to first and fourth places, respectively. In Beginner, sophomore Muyuan Li dominated her class to place first. Finally, senior-captain Bonnie Berkley impressed the judge in Novice to earn yet another blue ribbon.

Second show stats:
SHU [29 full team]
MHC 28 [no riders in class 15 or 16]
UConn 26 [full team]
UMass 25 [full team]
Post 3 [no riders in class 11, 13, or 14]

What a day! Our cowgirls were all troopers, waking up early and cheering each other on all day, despite the chilly morning. We are especially proud of all our new members, both those who showed their best and those who came to support their teammates for one very long day. After 14 classes, we brought home an incredible 10 blue ribbons. Is there a better way to spend Halloween than with your team?


MHC Western at SHU, 10/10/15
The MHC Western Team started the 2015-2016 show season with a bang! On October 10th, we traveled to Rolling M Ranch in Southbury, Connecticut for our first show, which was hosted by Sacred Heart University. The show was judged by Dan Bergstressor, the Western coach for SUNY-Oswego and gave feedback to every rider, which was incredible. Our riders loved getting feedback from a judge right after their rides!

Starting the day in Intermediate I was junior Emily Hermance, who rode impeccably to a well-deserved first-place finish.

Next up, in the first split of Intermediate II, was senior Elizabeth Brija, in her Western debut. Elizabeth handled a tough draw like a true cowgirl and had an excellent ride to place fourth. In the second split of Intermediate II, senior Alexa Fifield, returning from a year abroad, had a strong ride to place fifth. Sophomore Valerie Avery, in her IHSA debut, also had an excellent ride and placed fourth.

In Novice, seniors Rebeca Baker and Bonnie Berkley (captain) dominated their class with second and third place finishes.

In Beginner, MHC’s last class of the day, junior Madeline Ketley picked up first-place with a clean ride.

Below are the team standings and information on each team:
SHU 33 (showed full team)
UCONN 26 (showed full team)
UMASS 24 (showed full team)
MHC 19 (no riders in classes 14, 15, or 16)
POST 14 (no riders in classes 11, 13, or 14)

With only a few practices under its belt and no riders entered for half the day’s classes, our team did a fantastic job and has set the stage for a great new season. We’ve welcomed a total of nineteen new riders into our team and cannot wait to see all the incredible things they will accomplish this season! Several riders are also very close to pointing out of their divisions and qualifying for Regionals, so stay tuned!