Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Equestrian club riders compete in nationals

Three riders from the University of Denver club equestrian team have qualified for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) national finals to be held this week in Springfield, Mass. 

Jessica Stone, Whitney Stahl, and Nicole Stern all earned the right to compete at nationals after winning or placing second in their divisions at the regional competition held in West Texas at the end of March. 

Jessica Stone, a sophomore management major, has qualified for the Cacchione Cup, intercollegiate riding’s most prestigious event. Stone accumulated more points than any other rider in Zone 7 in the open division, the most advanced division in intercollegiate competition. 

It is the first time in the association’s history that a DU student has represented Zone 7 in the Cacchione Cup. Stone also qualified to ride in the individual open jumping competition at nationals.

Sophomore business major Whitney Stahl qualified for the novice flat class at nationals and Nicole Stern, a sophomore international studies major, qualified for the intermediate jumping division. 

Intercollegiate competition differs from traditional horse shows because participants are assigned horses randomly and aren’t allowed to practice with their mounts beforehand. 

Intercollegiate competition includes open, intermediate and novice divisions, within which riders jump and ride flat. Jumping requires riders to compete over a course of fences that vary in height depending on the division. The flat phase allows competitors to demonstrate their handling of the horse at three gaits: walking, trotting and cantering. 

Like DU’s other club sports, the equestrian club is member-run and governed by the Club Sports Advisory Board. The team competes against West Texas A&M, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado College, Texas Tech, and several other schools in Zone 7. 

They practice in weekly riding lessons with Coach Molly Rhinedollar, who works out of a barn in Parker, Colo.

Read more about DU’s club equestrian team.

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