The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Equestrian starts off with win, looks to another promising season

The Equestrian Team will have another show tomorrow at Moravian University. (Photo courtesy of Emma Sylvester ’25)
Junior Anabel Stein and sophomore Emma Sylvester show off their winning ribbons from the Novice division at the show this past weekend. (Photo courtesy of Maggie Sigmond-Warner ’23)

Riding the momentum of a successful season last spring, the Equestrian Team won the show hosted by the University of Scranton this past weekend.

Senior club president Maggie Sigmond-Warner thinks with this win, the team is now a few points ahead of their biggest competitor, Rutgers, as well as the others in the region.

“It sets us off on a good note,” Sigmond-Warner said. “I was holding our team ribbon with pride.”

At the show, junior club vice president Grace McEneaney won second in open fences, while junior club secretary Anna Paulsen and sophomore Daisy Wheeler won first in limit fences and the flat, respectively.

Junior Anabel Stein and sophomore Emma Sylvester placed first and second in Novice, respectively. Coming in third in Pre-Novice was sophomore Ashley Holland.

Zubair Ali, the junior club social media manager, placed first in the Introductory division. Sophomore Shreya Suresh placed second.

The team had a disadvantage going into the weekend since this was the earliest in the season the team has ever had their first show; Lafayette is normally one of the latest starting schools in the region, Sigmond-Warner said.

Much of the team’s competition includes bigger universities that offer more structure and support for their equestrian teams.

“Every other school gets on campus and gets practicing so much earlier, so we got everything fast-tracked. We started lessons as soon as we could, and our coach made space for us a lot earlier than normal,” Sigmond-Warner said.

Despite graduating some key riders last year, the team was able to channel last season’s success into this weekend’s victory. Last spring the Equestrian Team beat nine large universities in their region to earn the title of Regional High Point team, while they placed fourth at the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Zone 3 Finals.

This weekend’s success also could be attributed to the support that the teammates show for each other. Members of the team all signed a card for Sigmond-Warner’s birthday, which was the day of the show, and brought her a big cookie cake to celebrate.

“I was under a lot of stress because this was my first show as captain. I just want to help lead the team to victory again and do as much as I can,” she said. “We had so many amazing rides, we had so many first places and magically we pulled through at the end of the day.”

Despite the success, she explained that setting up the roster for shows has been difficult because their new members are filling the lower level divisions, but their graduated seniors all came out of the higher ones. Therefore, the team has to work extra hard to push returning members up into the higher-level divisions.

“Right now it’s really a race to fast-track our riders through the divisions to fill them up evenly,” Sigmond-Warner said. “It’s really difficult because all of our riders are incredible, but when you go to these competitions, it’s all luck of the draw,” she said. “Sometimes we get lucky and we get to move people through like we planned, and sometimes not.”

Looking forward, the team hopes to win their regional competition. Sigmond-Warner said that individuals can qualify for regionals at the end of the year by placing out of their current division. Each rider individually has to accumulate 36 points in their division to be able to “point out” and move into the next division.

“In addition to winning on Saturday, we also had our first regional qualifier. Now we have someone secure in that spot and we’re hoping to get a lot more people qualifying for that,” Sigmond-Warner said.

Points carry over for returning members, so since Wheeler was very close to pointing out last season, she was able to do so during this first show by winning the limit flat class. Wheeler will now compete for the rest of the season in the intermediate flat class before performing in the limit flat class at regionals.

Tomorrow, the team will attend another show, which is being hosted by Moravian University.

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Caroline McParland
Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

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