Intercollegiate Dressage Association Team Wins Northeast Region For First Time
By Beth Potier, Media Relations
April 25, 2007
Competes In Nationals April 27 - 29
UNH’s Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team has won
the northeast regional championships for the first time. The team’s
four riders will compete in the national championships this weekend,
April 27 – 29, at Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J.
Four student riders will represent UNH at the national championships:
Caroline McCarthy, a sophomore business major from Geneva, N.Y.; Jessica
Donovan, a junior equine science major from Exeter; Kimberly Guyer,
a sophomore pre-vet major from Northborough, Mass.; and Chelsey Pletts,
a sophomore English major from New Haven, Vt. Students compete individually
at their levels and as a team.
Dressage is sport that can be likened to ballet for horse and rider;
the famous Lippizan stallions of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna
are an example of dressage at its highest level. Riders strive to systematically
develop and improve the horse’s strength, flexibility, balance,
gaits and movement to create a harmonious partnership between horse
and rider, with invisible communication.
Intercollegiate dressage competition has the added challenge that the
rider must perform her test on an unfamiliar horse. Each college takes
a turn hosting a show and provides all the horses for the riders of
every team. In a true test of skill, tact and sensitivity, riders draw
horses at random and have just 10 minutes to get to know the horse and
try to establish a harmonious relationship with the animal.
“Without a doubt, this is the strongest group of riders I have
coached,” said Sarah Hamilton, director of the UNH Equine Program
and coach of the IDA team. “In addition to their ample skills
as riders, they are motivated, extremely hard-working, and highly coachable.
They set the goal of qualifying for nationals, and they fought hard
to achieve it and win the region in very tight competition.”
Hamilton notes that competitors ride several hours each week in addition
to practice time, and that becoming an effective dressage rider can
take years. The intercollegiate dressage season begins in September,
breaks from December through February, then resumes in March.
The Equine Program offers a bachelor’s in animal science that
allows students to concentrate in one of the following three tracks:
equine industry and management, therapeutic riding, or equine science.
Classes include stable management, horse care, teaching, training, horsemanship,
conformation, equine diseases, equine sports medicine, reproduction,
nutrition and horse trials management. The Equine Program also has an
active riding program which concentrates in dressage and eventing and
two equestrian teams, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Team
(hunt seat) and the Intercollegiate Dressage Association Team (dressage).
Both teams had their best seasons ever this year.
UNH hosts two nationally recognized horse trials and two nationally
recognized dressage shows each year, in addition to several schooling
shows. Its therapeutic riding program is recognized as a North American
Riding for the Handicapped Association Premier Operating Center. UNH
has an active Horsemen’s Club, as well as study abroad programs
that include a week-long trip to Portugal for the concentrated study
of classical dressage.
For more information go to http://www.unh.edu/horsemensclub/IDA.html.
For information on the Equine Program, go to www.equine.unh.edu.