Riding is a unique sport. Aspects such as training, competitiveness and the ranking system are created in a much different way than most major sports.
The Saints equestrian team finished second in the National ranking last year, making them 2011 Reserve National Champions. This riding team is like no other. Not only are they hard working, they are among the top ranking in the country.
The team’s training schedule consists of two riding lessons a week, one Friday practice, a team meeting and an hour of facilities during the week. Taylor Moon ’12 stated, “The team meeting is very important to us because it is the only time the entire team gets together at one time. It [riding] is different than other sports in that we can’t all be together doing things as a team at the same time.”
In most major sports, the game is an individual or team effort, usually a combination of both. “It’s an individual sport that they found a way to make into a team sport. When you get into the ring you want to do the best you can because your ride is then reflected in your team’s points. This adds another dimension of pressure. You are riding not only for yourself but for your team as well,” Taylor said.
Collegiate riding is not split up into separate divisions; rather, all schools compete within the same division, meaning there is no such thing as Division I, II, or III. St Lawrence competed against schools such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale to obtain the number two rank last season. This year’s team looks to build on that success and climb another spot to become the top team in the country. Considering the size of St. Lawrence, even competing for the top twenty riding schools in the country would be an accomplishment, let alone top two.
The riding season is rather long, lasting from October until April. The team must be dedicated and willing to push through the season; they cannot tire if they want to obtain the number one ranking.
This year, St. Lawrence will play host to four different riding shows, including the Hunt Seasonal Regional held in late March. If the team can win the regional competition, they will then be sent to zone competitions, and finally to Nationals where they would compete for the national title.
This Sunday the riding team will be hosting their first home show of the season at Appleton Riding Hall. Go out to support your fellow Saints as they try to regain their elite status and take control of the number one ranking.