Equestrian team is looking forward to regionals, nationals

Joshua Mabry, Campus Carrier sports editor

Senior hunt seat head team captain Maggie Sanford (left) talks with Assistant Hunt Seat Coach Kimberly Wallace at a recent practice. Rette Solomon | Campus Carrier

The equestrian western and hunt seat teams have had a lot of success so far this season. 

Both teams are ranked very highly, with the hunt seat team leading the region and the western team just behind the region’s leaders. 

Head Coach Margaret Ellington said that this year’s success stands out, as it has been a growing year for the teams because there are a lot of young riders. 

“I’m pleased with how both of my teams have done,” Ellington said. 

Ellington said that the hunt seat team had some pleasant surprises this season that they did not expect at the beginning of the season. 

Although the team is currently in first place in region, the rankings are very close. 

Ellington said that the hunt seat team had some ups and down at their recent show at the University of Georgia. The team is working hard to get ready for the last few shows this season. 

The western team is very solid, according to Ellington. 

“I have that feeling that this weekend, we can surpass the Mississippi State team,” Ellington said. “I feel like the girls are hungry for it now. It’s good to have them be challenged because we’ve won multiple year- after-year regional championships.” 

Ellington said that she hopes that the teams will rise to the occasion at Saturday’s show at Judson College. 

Berry is hosting regionals for both western and hunt seat on March 1, which Ellington said she is excited about. 

Regionals for the equestrian teams are different than what people might expect, according to Ellington. 

“It’s only for those riders, not necessarily the teams, but the riders who have individually qualified throughout the year,” Ellington said. “The regionals are a lot smaller, so the show is shorter.” 

Senior Kathryn Barclay.
Senior Kathryn Barclay shows off her equestrian skills. Barclay and the rest of the two teams are working hard to prepare for regionals. Rette Solomon | Campus Carrier

Ellington said that she is hopeful that they will have some individuals qualify for nationals going forward. 

Senior Maggie Sanford, hunt seat discipline, said that their team has put in some really good rides so far this season. 

“We’ve been working hard,” Sanford said. “Individually, we’ve had a lot of girls qualify for regionals already, which is a huge accomplishment, and we’ve got more people that are super close to qualifying, too.” 

Senior Hannah Atsma said that the western side has also been performing very well and has already had a lot of riders qualify for regionals. 

“We’ve had a lot of learning rides, too, but that’s really helped us a lot and we’ve seen a lot of improvement this semester, so I’m excited to see how we’re going to finish out the season,” Atsma said. 

Sanford and Atsma both said that hosting regionals is awesome because they can ride some of their own horses for the qualifying rides. 

Equestrian will have two western shows at Judson on Feb. 15. There will then be two hunt seat shows on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 at the University of Alabama. Berry will then host a hunt seat show on Feb. 29 at the Gunby Equine Center. 

Berry will host regionals for both hunt seat and western on March 1. 

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