LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Dartmouth equestrian team had a busy three days competing at the 2017 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championships this weekend at Kentucky Horse Park.
The IHSA National Championships draws over 500 riders who have qualified out of the 10,000 riders who compete in the IHSA throughout the year.
Team co-captains Meg Rauner and Claire Bick led the qualified riders in the first flat classes of the opening day of Nationals on Thursday. Bick competed in the Intermediate Equitation on the Flat aboard her draw Banks, a horse donated to the show by Randolph College. She had an outstanding, athletic ride and finished in second place for the Reserve Championship in the class of 16 riders.
Not to be outdone, Rauner also drew Banks and, after a quick consultation with Bick about how to ride him, she had a strong ride and also ended up in second place to bring home the Novice Equitation on the Flat Reserve Championship.
Rauner and Bick's Reserve Championships are the highest-placing mounted placings in Dartmouth Equestrian Nationals history.
On the second day, Olivia Champ began her competition in the IHSA Cacchione Cup class, the most prestigious class at the IHSA Nationals.
Champ had earned enough points throughout the fall regular season competitions to end the year as the Zone I, Region 2 Cacchione Cup Regional Champion, which earned her a trip to Nationals. Thirty-eight riders from all across the country qualify for the class, and all 38 compete over fences but only the top 24 proceed onto the flat phase.
The sophomore had a steady, soft ride in her fences class and finished in 14th, earning her a spot in the flat phase of the two-part class. Champ rode well enough in her flat phase to move her up two spots to finish 12th of the 38 riders.
On Sunday — the final day of competition – Erin McCarthy-Keeler competed in the practicum phase of the McDonald Scholarship Challenge, a two-part challenge that tests riders on horse health and nutrition skills.
Sixteen riders from across the country are selected by their highest written test scores to travel to Nationals for a hands-on practicum test where they are tested on their skills working directly with the horses. McCarthy-Keeler finished in fifth place, improving her finish from last year by two places.