Equestrian triumphs in last fall show

by Elizabeth Bissell | 11/9/06 6:00am

Dartmouth equestrian capped off its fall season with a one-point victory over Mount Ida College on Sunday at the University of New Hampshire show. The win solidified Dartmouth's spot at the top of the regional standings after six fall shows.

"I'm thrilled that the team ended the fall in first," said co-captain Tim Malone '07. "I think we're in a stronger position now than we were with a large lead two years ago."

After the two shows in the spring, the team with the most points in Dartmouth's 11 school region will earn a spot at Zones, where they will compete against the top teams from four neighboring regions for two spots at Nationals. In the 2004-05 season, Dartmouth qualified as a team for Zones for the first time. Dartmouth currently leads the region with 222 points, followed by Mount Ida with 219 and the University of Vermont with 194.

"This has been the best fall season ever for Dartmouth equestrian," said coach Sally Batton. "Our team this year has depth in all classes, so not only are the point riders racking up the points, but the rest of the team is doing very well and blocking other teams from getting high ribbons."

In intercollegiate competition, only the points from eight team members predetermined by the coach ("point riders") count towards the team total. The remainder of the team competes individually.

Sunday's victory began auspiciously for Dartmouth, with blue ribbons in the morning jumping section for Malone in Open Fences and Ashley Hannebrink '07 in Intermediate Fences. Katherine Scovner '08 also took a red ribbon in Novice Fences, and Lily Macartney '08 took third.

Despite a close battle with Mount Ida, Dartmouth finished the day with strong performances in the afternoon flat section. Malone took second in Open Flat, with co-captain Daisy Freund '08 and Elizabeth Bissell '08 both taking thirds. Hannebrink scored her second victory of the day in Intermediate Flat, with Scovner also taking a blue and Elise Lewyckyj '10 placing second.

In Novice, Macartney and Amanda Watson '09 put in solid rides for second and third, respectively. Dartmouth's large Walk-Trot-Canter contingent dominated the division, with firsts for Jeanie Lau '08 and Rachel LaRocca '09, seconds for Erica Anhalt '09 and Alaina Smith '09, and a third for Chesa Bochner '10. Coming into the last class of the day (Walk-Trot), Dartmouth's rider had to place better or the same as the Mount Ida point rider to maintain the lead. Performing well under pressure, Kaity Wallace '07 nabbed second place and secured the victory for Dartmouth.

Besides the team competition, individual riders can earn points to qualify for Regionals, where they compete for the chance to move on to Zones and, ultimately, Nationals. Currently qualified for Regionals are Freund in Open Fences and Flat, Malone in Open Fences and Flat, Lizzy Rauner '06 in Intermediate Flat, Bissell in Intermediate Fences, Hannebrink in Novice Flat, Macartney in Novice Fences and Scovner in Novice Flat.

Several other riders are expected to qualify during the last two spring shows. With shows Fall and Winter terms and a post-season spring term, the D-Plan leaves riders with difficult decisions in planning off-terms.

"I am so sad that I'm not going to be here in the spring, for Regionals but also for the last two shows," said Macartney, who will be on the Art History FSP to Rome in the spring. "I would really like to be here to ride and finish up the season with the team."

Open riders can also qualify directly for Nationals by earning the most total points (over fences and on the flat combined) in their region. These riders compete both over fences and on the flat at Nationals in a special class called the Cacchione Cup. Two years ago Freund took this award in Dartmouth's region; last year, it was Malone. Once more they lead the rankings, with Malone leading by four points.

"It is difficult to be motivated to go out for blood when the blood I'm out for is a friend, a teammate and also my co-captain," Freund said. "It won't be easy to make up the four points that now separate me from Tim or to maintain my small lead over the Mt. Ida rider who is third in the standings. That being said, I won't roll over for anyone and nothing is decided until the last class of the last show in March, so we will just have to wait and see."

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