Equestrian team ends fall season

Who exactly are those women walking around campus wearing tight pants under knee high boots and sporting suggestive riding crops? They are the Williams Equestrian Team. The team competed in its last Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) show of the season at Amherst on Saturday. The club team is currently ranked fourth out of 12 teams in Region III, and is the only team in the top five that does not have a varsity program.

Co-captains Amanda Alps ’09 and Rachel Schneebaum ’09 are excited to be leading such a successful team. “It’s been an exciting fall season,” said Schneebaum. “Despite individual ups and downs, the Williams team has seen some of the strongest riding and most notable improvement in a while. We’re definitely a force to be reckoned with.”

The girls train weekly at Clover Hill Farm under the instruction of Head Coach Linda Orton, a former IHSA rider. “The team has performed extremely well this semester,” said Orton, “and we hope to be even better in the spring.”

At intercollegiate horse shows, competitors are divided into classes within six divisions depending on riding level: open, intermediate, novice, walk-trot-canter, beginning walk-trot-canter and walk-trot. Each rider is randomly assigned to one of the hosting college’s horses and has to compete against riders from other teams on the flat and (in the novice, intermediate, and open divisions) over fences. Riders receive individual points for the ribbons they win – first place is worth seven points, second place is worth five, and so on through sixth place which has a value of one point. Individual points contribute to the overall team score. The points earned at each show are factored into each school’s cumulative point score which determines its rank in the region with respect to the other competing teams. Novice, intermediate and open riders are also eligible to earn high-point rider awards, given to the rider with the highest cumulative point total on the flat and over fences.

On Saturday, rider Shawna Rae McArdle ’10 placed second in her walk-trot class and Alps won first place in advanced walk-trot-canter. Madeline King ’11 won second place in her advanced walk-trot-canter class after pointing out of the beginning walk-trot-canter division at the last show, hosted by Mt. Holyoke. Also at Mt. Holyoke, Claire Lafave ’12 earned reserve high-point novice rider and Sophie Mason ’10 tied for reserve high-point intermediate rider. Schneebaum is currently ranked sixth in the region in the individual open rider Cacchione Cup standings.

The Amherst show concluded the fall season. The team will resume competition with the start of its spring season on Feb. 21 at UMass Amherst.