I have been meaning to post this and I got distracted. Not really hard for me to do, but never the less it happens.
I have coached the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Western Equestrian Team for about five years now. My team of girls is what keeps me going on most days. They encourage me to become a better horsewoman and a better teacher. When I was first asked to coach the team, I felt there was no way I could do it. I still have days even now when I scratch my head and ask myself “what was I thinking?” I do my best to give proper instruction to each girl, and for the most part, I think I do a good job, but there are times I feel I can definitely do better, which is why I make sure to continue my own education.
Our past few years have seen records set for the IUP Western teams that never were thought achievable before. My girls tried to credit me with their accomplishments, but it was not me getting on those unknown horses at the shows, it was them. These girls have guts! They get no warm-up time before going into the show ring on a horse they have never ridden before, and they have to make the best equitation ride on that horse they can. The whole IHSA system works on points. Each girl needs points awarded in her class and must accumulate enough to “class up” to the next level. Once they have classed up they qualify for the Regional Show in the spring. If they place in the top two at the Regional Show, they can move on to the Semi-Final show, where the top four placing there can then compete at Nationals, where they ride against other riders in their level from around the country. We have sent two riders to Nationals since I came onto the scene. And every year since we have had riders compete at the Regional Show.
Our first show of the season was back on October 18th. My team hosted the show.
The following pictures are from the show. Somehow I am missing Chelsea in my pictures; she was at this show as well and is a Level 12B Rider.