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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023

Middlebury Equestrian Team shines in the Vermont doubleheader weekend

Three generations of Middlebury Equestrian Team captains at the
Eddy Farm Show.
Three generations of Middlebury Equestrian Team captains at the Eddy Farm Show.

Despite the persistent rain over the weekend, the Middlebury Equestrian Team made a shining start to their season by participating in the Vermont doubleheader. A total of 19 riders competed across a variety of events at University of Vermont’s show at Imajica Farm in Williston, Vt. on Saturday, followed by Middlebury’s own show at Eddy Farm on South Street on Sunday.

Pressure was high after the team’s strong fourth-place rank in the region last year, but riders rose to the occasion. Clare Rados ’27 and Susan Leibovitz ’27 distinguished themselves with second-place finishes at UVM in the pre-novice and intermediate fences, respectively. Middlebury Equestrian Treasurer Brenae’ Ervin ’26 showcased her skills, securing two second-place finishes in the Intro competition. Other standout moments included first-place triumphs achieved by riders Caroline Lawler ’27, Olivia Dumont ’26, and Kristen Morgenstern ’24 on Sunday. 

“It meant a lot to be able to win at my home barn, surrounded by other team members and friends who might not have otherwise been able to see me compete,” said Dumont, who is also one of the team’s newly appointed captains. “It was also special because my parents had come to help with concessions, and this was their first time seeing me ride since I started college.” 

“For the first weekend back and with only three weeks of practice under our belts with the September school year start, we’re all feeling happy overall and I’m so proud of the team,” said  Tess Hegarty ’25.5, co-captain of the Equestrian Team.

The home show witnessed remarkable achievements, not only in rider’s individual performances, but also in the teamwork and dedication exhibited in organizing and executing the event. Preparations for the competition began in May with a collaborative effort from team leadership coaches Kate Selby and Margaret Bojanowkski.

The organizing process for the home show involved registering riders for their respective events, managing entry fees, coordinating concession services, ordering ribbons for prize winners and ensuring the appointment of a judge who met the qualifications set by Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s standards. Unsurprisingly, a major facet of orchestrating an equestrian show revolves around the management and coordination of the equine participants.

“We had nine schools, 132 rides altogether during the show — some of them jumping, most of them on the flat — and you need a lot of horses to pull that off,” Selby told The Campus. There were a total of 25 horses, made up of a combination of horses belonging to Eddy Farm, privately owned horses, and horses rented and transported from barns in New Hampshire and New York.

Periods of heavy rain during the UVM show on Saturday created some difficult circumstances. The rain the previous day flooded the ground and resulted in the team having to move everything indoors for the show on Sunday. Still, both shows ran smoothly. 

“Putting on these shows requires a lot of teamwork and physical labor, but there’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise over the Green Mountains while getting ready for a competition day.” Hegarty said.

The riders commenced set up at 6 a.m. on Sunday, involving the preparation of the horses for the events, before competing themselves later in the day. Throughout the afternoon, riders also volunteered to help wherever needed. Their dedication extended to an cleanup effort, which lasted until 5 pm.

“When the last space was finally cleaned up, the whole team, our coaches and the amazing people at the Eddy Farm all applauded and congratulated each other,” Dumont said. “The stress was finally over and we could officially say that our show was a success!”