The UNH Equestrian teams continue to distinguish themselves in the world of collegiate equine sports with recent regional wins that will propel many of their riders to the national championships.
In early April, the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team clinched the 2018 championship for the IDA Northeast Region A. The team, which is led by coach Emily Stearns ‘12, will be competing at the IDA National Championships at Lake Erie College on April 28 and 29.
“This is the closest team I have been part of my four years here, I couldn't have asked for a better group for my final year on the team,” says Felecia Pandelena ’18, the team’s co-captain. “I have dreamt about representing UNH at Nationals since I made the team freshman year, so I'm very excited that's now a reality. Being able to call myself captain of this team has been an honor."
UNH will be represented by Pandelena ’18, Tess Murray ‘18, Jessica Childs ‘18 and Cloe Hughes ’21 in the team championship, and Hughes and Murray will also compete in individual events. A number of the team’s riders finished the year with a top-five spot in three regional awards: Hughes (Introductory Level, Champion); Sarah Savarese ’19 (Introductory Level, Third Place); Murray (Lower Training Level, Champion); Pandelena (First Level Reserve, Champion); and Ally Knoll ’18 (First Level, Fifth Place).
“It was a heavily competitive region and all of the riders worked incredibly hard to help the team qualify,” says Stearns. “I'm continuously inspired by the work ethic, team spirit, and sportsmanship they bring to every competition. It's just plain fun being their coach!”
This is the fourth consecutive year UNH IDA equestrian team members have made it to the national championships, and the ninth time in 10 years that the team has been either champion or reserve champion of IDA Region A.
Not to be outdone by the IDA team, the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) hunt seat team, led by coach Christina Keim ’98 ‘09G, finished third among 12 teams in Zone I Region 2. This is the tenth consecutive season that UNH has been in the top three regionally. Amanda Terbrusch ’20 and Rachel Fish ‘19 represented the region at the Zone Finals at Mt. Holyoke on April 7.
Terbrusch took the Zone Championship in the Advanced Walk Trot Canter division and will represent the Zone and UNH at the IHSA National Championships in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on May 2-4.
“In my 12-year tenure as coach, it has always been a real pleasure watching riders on this team mature and develop in intercollegiate format competition over the course of their careers,” says Keim. “Amanda was able to deliver a really solid performance under pressure, and we are thrilled to be sending her to Harrisburg.”
Out of the riding ring, Amber McElhinney ‘18 was named the first alternate for Zone I in the T. McDonald Horsemanship Challenge test. The IHSA also recognized 11 of UNH’s riders for their outstanding scholar-athlete status by awarding them with places on the organization’s two All-Academic Teams.
McElhinney, Megan Presutti ’19, Laura Clancy ’19, Jessica Oswald ’20, Julia Bjorkman ‘18, Lauren Edwards ‘18, Megan Gordon ’18 and Fay Brown-Morrison ’20 are on the First Team, which requires a GPA of 3.8 or higher. The Second Team, whose members must have a minimum GPA of 3.5, gained three high achievers from UNH — Fish, Terbrusch and Devyn Blood ’18.
To cap off the Equestrian Teams’ collective and individual achievements, the IHSA team was honored with the Pink Triangle Award by UNH’s LGTBQ+ community on during their community’s annual Pancake Breakfast on April 10, for the team’s work on promoting inclusivity in equestrian sport.
“I'm so blessed to be part of such an amazing team with teammates that care about each other so much,” says Hughes, a member of the IDA team. “And I'm happy to end our season on such a high note!"