St. Lawrence University and Middle Georgia State University Earn Top Team Honors in the IHSA Spring Showcase I, Powered by DigitalHorseShow.com

Goucher College’s Kristen Wilhelm and University of Akron’s Madison Lethco Receive Judges’ High-Scores

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Vice President Kelly Francfort announced class winners and judges’ high-score riders of the Spring Showcase I Online Horse Show, powered by DigitalHorseShow.com, during a results celebration broadcast March 10. St. Lawrence University and Middle Georgia State University rode to top team honors while Goucher College’s Kristen Wilhelm and University of Akron’s Madison Lethco received judges’ high scores.

Spring Showcase I, the second in the online horse show series, featured serious competition as hunter seat and Western riders from member colleges and universities across the country submitted videos of their flatwork, rounds over fences and patterns. Judges Dacia Johnson and Amy Watkins shared their impressions of the horses, riders and online competition format.

“We had some excellent riders,” said hunter seat judge Dacia Johnson. “Most of the horses met the level, they allowed the riders to show off their position, their strengths and weaknesses.”

The online horse shows produced by DigitalHorseShow.com allow for commentary from the judges about each video submitted. Johnson commented on the value of the concept.

“As an educational tool it probably helps the student more in some respects than going to a regular live competition because each person is getting a critique on their riding,” Johnson said.

“The group was very good,” said Western judge Amy Watkins. “Having been a coach myself, it was disappointing to not be able to have a show season this year. So, to be able to do this and watch these riders was good. The online format where they can see some feedback from the judge is excellent,” Watkins said.

“The group was very good,” said Western judge Amy Watkins. “Having been a coach myself, it was disappointing to not be able to have a show season this year. So, to be able to do this and watch these riders was good. The online format where they can see some feedback from the judge is excellent,” Watkins said.

Kristen Wilhelm, a freshman at Goucher College from Columbia, Maryland, took the top call in Novice Hunter Seat Equitation, Section One with a score of 86 securing the title of champion high-score hunter seat rider.

Kristen Wilhelm, a freshman at Goucher College from Columbia, Maryland, took the top call in Novice Hunter Seat Equitation, Section One with a score of 86, securing the title of champion high-score hunter seat rider.

Wilhelm rode 27-year-old gelding Jumanji who is known for his fiery spirit despite his age.

“He’s been amazing to work with and has definitely helped me overcome some of my personal riding bad habits,” Wilhelm said. “I will be planning on doing the next one (online show} and I think my whole college riding team will be as well. I just think it’s a great opportunity for everyone to still show while the pandemic is still happening. I’m excited for the next Showcase and hopefully produce some really good results.”

Judge Johnson’s score of 85 created a three-way tie for the reserve high-score hunter seat rider title. Sita Moses (Dublin, New Hampshire) from Sweet Briar College, who earned the blue ribbon in Novice Hunter Seat Equitation Section Two, tied with St. Lawrence University junior Natalie Nordyke (West Hartford, Connecticut) who rode to the win in the Intermediate Hunter Seat Equitation on the Flat. Completing the three-way tie and also from St. Lawrence University, Natalie Babon (Croton Falls, New York) won Section One of the World Equestrian Center Limit Hunter Seat Equitation Over Fences.

Wins by Grace Jackson (Marion, Massachusetts) in Open Hunter Seat Equitation on the Flat and Over Fences helped clinch the hunter seat team champion title for St. Lawrence University.

“Even though we were home and we were in our own venue, it was surprisingly real feeling,” said Mary Drueding, St. Lawrence University Equestrian Team head coach. “It was quite rewarding. We had a good time. It was a good bonding experience. I think all of us learned a lot and we learned a lot about each other because normally we would have done a lot of events and travel by now.”

The University of Akron Team President Madison Lethco (Canton, Ohio) topped the Level 2 Horsemanship class with a score of 82 also earning her the champion high-score Western rider title.

“My pattern went really well and I thought my layout of the pattern was really nice,” said Lethco. “Also, I had a really nice horse Mocha. She has a lot of experience doing patterns so she’s really good with those.”

Gavin Wright from Middle Georgia State University rode his own 12-year-old mare Sophie to a score of 80 to earn the second-place call in the Level 2 Horsemanship class and the reserve high-score Western Rider title. “With the horse I was riding, I knew where I’d get pluses and where I’d get minuses,” Wright said. “I just tried to think out where I could really plus and where I could really shine in parts of the pattern. It goes back down to the coaching. The coaching and support I have is really great.”

Middle Georgia State University (MGSU) were Western team champions of the IHSA Inaugural Online Horse Show in December and repeated the honor with strong performances submitted for the Spring Showcase I.

“Our basic plan that we incorporate every single time really works for us,” said Allie Arrington, MGSU Equestrian Team head coach. “We had our plan, and what to expect, as far as getting videos uploaded, getting prepared the three weeks beforehand, and how they’ll feel going into an online horse show versus driving to a show and showing horses there. I think it was nice. It was another really good experience.”

IHSA alumni were well represented in the hunter seat and Western divisions.

Impressive scores ranging from the mid-70s to 80 made for a competitive Alumni Hunter Seat Equitation on the Flat class. Dee Cook, University of Connecticut alumna, scored an 80 for the blue ribbon. Dee also scored an 80 in the Alumni Hunter Seat Equitation Over Fences class. Second and third place was separated by only one point. Kaytlyn Brabham (Western Washington University) nabbed the second place and Catherine Baker (Virginia Intermont College) rounded out the top three.

Tammy Cranouski (Westfield State University) bettered her score from the Inaugural Online Horse Show to secure the win in the Alumni Western Horsemanship class. Riders representing SUNY Cobleskill rounded out the top three with Lee Levine and Christa Bramberger, again only separated by one point.

Middle Tennessee State University alumni dominated the Alumni Ranch Riding class. The top call went to Kalyee Hayes with a score of 75 and Kailey Vande Kamp was right behind with a score of 71. Tammy Cranouski placed third with a sore of 68.

“Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to our team champions, class winners and high-score riders,” said Peter Cashman, IHSA executive director. “These online shows are an amazing way for riders to keep their show-day spirit and competition mind-set during COVID-19 restrictions on travel and in-person competition.”

Spring Showcase II, powered by DigitalHorseShow.com, the final in the IHSA online horse show series, will accept submissions from March 22-31. Series individual and team champions will be presented. The Spring Showcase II prize list is available here.

A full list of class results of the Spring Showcase I can be found here.

ABOUT DIGITALHORSESHOW.COM
Horse Sports for the New Normal. Founded in 2020 by a group of industry leaders with experience in video, show management, entry systems, sales and marketing, DHS offers a place for equestrians to maintain their competitive edge and receive thoughtful feedback for themselves and their horses. Providing participants with the most affordable way to compete in front of USEF-Licensed Officials, DHS is the official sanctioned online horse show competition of the USHJA and also welcomes a variety of opportunities for other facets of the equestrian community.

To learn more about DigitalHorseShow.com click here.

ABOUT THE IHSA
The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) welcomes men and women of all riding levels and offers individual and team competition in hunter seat equitation, Western horsemanship and reining at more than 400 member colleges and universities. Membership in IHSA means that college students can participate in horse shows regardless of their experience or financial status. Students compete at eight levels from beginner through advanced with suitable, provided horses, eliminating the expense of horse ownership. Founded in 1967 by Bob Cacchione, it is the oldest and largest intercollegiate equestrian organization with 10,000 members in 47 states and Canada. IHSA college and university team participation is represented through a variety of programs including varsity athletics, academic departments and club sports. IHSA offers valuable hands-on experience and professional development in multiple facets of the equine industry. Many IHSA teams participate in service projects, giving back to their communities. Through the IHSA, students enhance their college experience and develop the tools that help to build successful careers.

For more information go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

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