Equestrian team finishes third at last meet of season
Even though Dartmouth's varsity equestrian team placed consistently third or fourth throughout the season, individual riders' rounds have jumped into higher places in the last two shows.
At the beginning of the season, the team scored few high places at each competition, but the vans heading back to Hanover from the shows at Boston University and the University of New Hampshire were full of blue, red and yellow ribbons.
Five of the 26 riders at BU placed first in their divisions, six second and five third while nine of the 15 riders at UNH scored in the top three spots.
"We started a little slow but I think we ended up really strong," co-captain Christine Sandvik '97 said. At BU, "all of the point riders had either first or second by lunch time."
While between 15 and 30 Dartmouth riders compete at each show, the team selects one "point rider" from each of the eight divisions whose ribbon will count toward the team score at the end of the day. First place receives seven points, second five, third four and so on. Each team can drop one score.
Sandvik said "it's kind of luck" whether the team does well, since it only depends on the scores of a fraction of the competitors, who are chosen before they ride.
At UNH, Tufts University, which won the competition, scored 47 of the 49 possible points. Dartmouth's 35 points earned the team a third place behind the University of Vermont, which took 39 points.
At BU, the team's 28 points ranked them fourth, behind Colby-Sawyer College, BU and Harvard Univeristy. About 11 teams compete at every show.
The team has consistently placed in the top four throughout the season, coming in third at UNH two weekends ago and fourth at BU last Saturday.
Both Sandvik and co-captain Virginia Freego '95 said the consistent placings reflect an overall improvement in the level of riding from last season to this one; riders from every school are now leaving the ring after competitive rounds.
"The competition this year is a lot stiffer than in years past," Freego said. "The individual places on the whole team have been great."
The team's improvement is reflected in the seven riders that manager Kristine Harvey '95 said have already qualified for the regional competition, which pits the top riders from each division against each other at the beginning of Spring term.
Though the main season is in the fall, there will be four more shows in the spring, giving those who haven't qualified a chance to win a spot at the regional horse show.
Freego attributed the team's success and improvement to the quick adjustment of the first-year students on the team and the universal enthusiasm of the riders.
"They're wonderful and all so enthusiastic," she said. The freshmen are "ready to ride and so into the team."
First places at BU went to Sandvik, Harvey, Kate Mottinger '98, Abby Roberts '98 and Laura Bennett '96. Red ribbons were won by Freego, Cecilia Blasco '98, Gillian Fraser '95, Shannon Giles '96, Miriam Kolar '98 and Stephanie Saad '98. Thirds were awarded to Jodi Gesten '98, Samantha Caldwell '98, Kolar, Anne Harrington '98 and Cary Allen '98.
At UNH, Fraser, Courtney Mottinger '95 and Lanea Eschmeyer '96 won firsts; Sandvik and Giles receieved seconds; and Harvey, Freego, Della Bennett '96 and Grace Kim '97 won thirds.