Equestrian wins late season show behind high point rider Alexandra Bishop

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The equestrian team jumped out to an early lead on their way to winning last Saturday’s show. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Poff)

AJ Traub

The Lafayette equestrian program earned first place last Saturday in Northampton, Pa., in the last show where they would have a full team. The squad was carried by several impressive individual performances, including two first place finishes for senior Alexandra Bishop, who was the high point rider in her last time showing with the team.

 “It felt like the perfect way to end my college riding career,” Bishop said. “Freshman year, I was high point rider at a show, so it felt like this whole circle back around to start and end my career with high point rider.” 

Bishop’s wins in open flat and intermediate fences early in the day set the tone, as Chloe Meyers won her novice flat class, freshman Margo Mukherjee won her novice over fences class, and several other performances put the team in a position to win. Sophomore Haoyu Niu’s second place finish in walk-trot flat at the end clinched Lafayette’s victory. 

“We won, so I’m happy,” head coach Kelly Poff said. “The riders all did a really good job. We had some hard horse pools and did the best we could with them.” 

Although the team will send a bunch of riders to the final pre-regionals show, this past Saturday was the last competition for several members of the team. The team’s captain, senior Justine Perrotti, gave a speech after the win.  

“I just wanted to show my appreciation for what this meant to me this season,” Perrotti said. “The team has really shaped my Lafayette experience…I feel very proud of how far we have come this year. Tears were shed along with much laughter and hugs and I couldn’t imagine a better team. I love my team so much and I can’t thank them enough for an amazing senior year.” 

Perrotti earned points in her events despite riding a horse that was “bucking [during] her entire class,” according to Poff, who said she wanted a re-ride for Perrotti, but the organizers needed to keep moving the show along. 

“Even though I didn’t have the best draws for my classes, I still placed to get points for my team,” Perrotti said. “Luckily, I have strong team members that helped carry us to the win.”

With the early and sustained success, Lafayette stood atop the leaderboard throughout the event, creating excitement for the riders.

“We were checking the score the whole time,” sophomore Charlie Brownstein said. “I’ve never done so much math in my life.”

Bishop’s strong start came in just her third show after a year-long hiatus. In her first performance of the semester, she only competed in fences, before adding flats in her second. With her mom and a friend in attendance, she broke through in her third and final show. 

“I walked out of the ring and heard the score, and knew it was pretty high,” Bishop said. “We had to wait for other people to finish jumping. Someone told me I won the class before the flat class. I think that gave me some motivation to win the flat class.” 

Bishop also said she tends to do well under pressure. It also helped that, despite getting a horse that had “some issues during jumping courses,” she was able to use that knowledge along with tips from her mom, who has been a rider since she was four years old. Fortunately, Bishop drew a better horse in her second ride. 

“I think I had a little more motivation to try really hard in my last class and possibly win [after finding out I won over fences],” Bishop said. “The horse I got was the type of horse I’m used to riding, so we connected well. By the end of the ride I knew I did well.” 

After the victory, the team went back to take photos, some with the whole team and some with just seniors, after a memorable day for the program. 

“Saturday was one of those shows I won’t forget for the rest of my life,” Perrotti said.