The Miami University Equestrian Hunt Seat team hosted their home show this past weekend, taking first and second against six other teams.
Miami placed second on the Saturday with 31 points, while Otterbein University placed first with 41 total points.
Miami tied with Ohio State University for first place on Sunday with a score of 33 points. The tiebreaker went to Miami, that earned more first place ribbons overall.
For each team, within each division, coaches must pick a “team rider” — a rider whose points count towards the team total. Points come from placings at the show. First is equivalent to seven points, second to five, third to four, fourth to three, fifth to two and sixth to one.
Visiting collegiate teams ride the host team’s horses in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). Teams across the country travel to barns and “catch ride” — a style of riding where competitors randomly draw a horse and are judged on their ability to ride the unfamiliar animal.
Approximately 70 riders competed in various divisions for Miami this weekend. So, hosting a home show presented extra challenges as Miami members competed and played host at the same time this weekend.
“They were able to multi-task because the home show is an opportunity where, not only do we have to care for our horses, but we have to compete,” Miami University Equestrian Team President senior Kelly O’Bryan said. “I think our team was super, super loving to all of our horses and at the same time we went out into the ring and we killed it.”
This was the hunt seat team’s second IHSA show of the year. The team competed at OSU in late September, where new team members had their first experience with the format of IHSA.
“I think at our first show we were still all new to the team and figuring out how showing worked,” O’Bryan said, “But today things clicked and that was really the highlight for me — was everybody realized what the team meant to them this show, and how much they love it and you can see the passion.”
Head coach Heather Pinnick said those new team members rose to the occasion of their first home show.
“I just think some of the people who haven’t showed had some really good success in showing,” Pinnick said.
Olivia LeRoux is a freshman, learning the ropes at her first home show. Like some other team members, she groomed, tacked up and held a horse in the arena while also showing on the same day.
Coming first in her class, she said she was excited to be able to contribute to the team, both in winning her class and taking care of a horse.
“I kind of like being able to have the responsibility of taking care of a horse and just being able to feel like you’re taking care of the team and really helping everyone out,” LeRoux said.
This is the last home show for the six seniors on the team. Jill O’Bryan is one of those seniors. She placed second in her class, and while she said she made a few mistakes and hoped for better results and a first place ribbon, she was in good company as many of her team members were unsatisfied without winning their class amidst good riding.
But mostly this show was a culmination of her four years with the team.
“It’s kind of sad because this is our last home show and this is our last year of running things and staying up really late and getting up really early,” Jill O’Bryan said. “But it is a little bittersweet.”
Still, Jill O’Bryan said she is excited to spend time with some of the best friends she has made in college at the rest of the shows this season.
“I do love to compete but it is senior year,” Jill O’Bryan said. “It’ll be over after this year and I’m just kind of trying to enjoy the time I have left with all the people here.”
Overall, Pinnick said the show ran very smoothly with a lot of success.
“It was great,” Pinnick said. “It went really well. I thought all of the riding was very good, the horses were great.”
Miami hunt seat team member’s next opportunity to show is at the Midwest Indoors hunter/jumper show at the World Equestrian Center November 16-19 and the next IHSA show for hunt seat riders will be at Otterbein University Feb. 10-11.