Equestrian: Stillwater team reins in top honors

 Members of the Stillwater equestrian team, which was recently honored as the multi-discipline team champion at the Minnesota High School Equestrian Association year end banquet, include, from left, Ava McKee, Sarah Nelson, Olivia Anderson, Heather Leyh, Paige Boner and Rachel Johnson. (Suzanne Shaff Photography Worldwide)


Members of the Stillwater equestrian team, which was recently honored as the multi-discipline team champion at the Minnesota High School Equestrian Association year end banquet, include, from left, Ava McKee, Sarah Nelson, Olivia Anderson, Heather Leyh, Paige Boner and Rachel Johnson. (Suzanne Shaff Photography Worldwide)

The Stillwater Area High School equestrian team was honored as the multi-discipline team champion — which is the highest award presented — at the 2013 Minnesota High School Equestrian Association year end banquet.

In order to compete for the multi-discipline award, a team must have riders competing in at least two different disciplines. The following individual results combined to take the multi-discipline team honor: Sarah Nelson received Reserve Champion and Paige Boner third place in Varsity Equitation/Horsemanship and Pleasure Non-WSCA while Rachel Johnson received Champion and Ava McKee 7th place in the JV Hunter Jumper discipline. Additional participants in the club include Heather Leyh and Olivia Anderson.

In addition, the Stillwater equestrian team took Champion in Team Equitation, Horsemanship & Pleasure and Reserve Champion in Team Hunter Jumper divisions. With only one senior leaving, club members will be training during the winter and hoping to have another strong showing next season.

“We did a lot of fun things besides riding our horses,” said freshman team member Rachel Johnson. “We made and donated tie blankets, volunteered at the Special Olympics horse show, toured the U of M Equine Center and horsed around.”

Senior Sarah Nelson added: “I love my teammates so much. Horseback riding is primarily an individual sport, and having the opportunity to meet other riders and grow together as a team is so rewarding. I know these girls will be lifelong friends of mine.”

The Minnesota High School Equestrian Association was founded in 2001 and is proud to offer high school equestrians an opportunity to pursue a sport they love, enjoy the camaraderie of other high school equestrian athletes and represent their high school in “team” competition.

The equestrian club season runs from March to October for students in grades 8-11 at the start of the season and is a co-ed sport. Riders of all levels and skills are encouraged to participate. You do not have to own a horse to be a team member, however, experience with horses is required. Participants are eligible to earn a varsity letter if lettering requirements are met.

MHSEA clubs hold periodic meetings throughout the season that often involve attending horse related or MHSEA activities and events, performing volunteer activities and generally promoting club camaraderie and having fun as a group. The MHSEA does organize and offer to its members various educational clinics and horse related events during the season.

The MHSEA does not provide training or lessons. Riders pursue their own riding program and training schedule. Each rider rides and trains with the trainer and within the discipline of their choosing. They compete at the level and venues determined by them and their trainer as appropriate for their financial resources, skill and competitive level. Members ride and compete at horse shows and competitions as they always have.

The MHSEA recognized riding disciplines include:

 

n Dressage

n Equitation/Horsemanship & Pleasure – NON-WSCA, (including Saddle Seat)

n Equitation/Horsemanship & Pleasure – WSCA ONLY

n Eventing

n Hunter/Jumper

n Reining

n Western Games

 

For more information or to join go to www.mhsea.org or contact Stillwater Area High School.

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