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UK Equestrian Team wins reserve national championship; Rider wins individual championship

LEXINGTON, Ky., (April 28, 2009) – The UK Equestrian Team was named Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) reserve national championship team in the hunt seat division on April 26 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. This placing ranks UK second among 372 equestrian teams across the United States.

This was the third consecutive year UK earned a spot at the national level in this division. In 2008, the team took home top honors.

Individual rider Ali Cibon claimed a national championship title in intermediate equitation over fences.

“All the riders from UK did a great job,” said team faculty adviser Bob Coleman. “They are great representatives of the University of Kentucky and certainly show the level of ability in the student athletes at UK.”.

During the team portion of the competition, Cibon also earned reserve champion in open equitation on the flat. Katie Kearney placed fifth in intermediate equitation over fences. Elizabeth Kunz placed third in walk-trot-canter equitation, and Lauren Patterson took the championship title in novice equitation over fences.

Cibon also placed third in the intermediate equitation on the flat, and Victoria Willock placed eighth in novice equitation over fences. Jenny Gordon competed for the U.S. Equestrian Federation Cacchione Cup and was 21st overall.

Stock seat rider Molly Peyton competed for the American Quarter Horse Association high-point western rider and placed sixth overall. This is the first time UK’s stock seat team has had a high-point rider compete at this level of competition.

“Being 2008 national champions gave us the confidence we needed to accept that we deserved to compete with the country's top collegiate equestrian programs, which made this year's experience even more memorable,” said UK rider Rebekah Wichard, who competed at nationals the past three years.

Coleman said the team’s success is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the riders as well as coaches Michelle Zimmer and Bennie Sargent. Zimmer coaches the hunt seat team, which rides at Robert Murphy Stables. Sargent coaches the stock seat team, which rides at High Point Equestrian Center.

The UK Equestrian Team, a College of Agriculture club team, has approximately 70 riders who compete in IHSA shows. UK competes in Zone 6, Region 2. Region 2 is made up of Miami University of Ohio, Midway College, Morehead State University, Ohio University Southern, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Wilmington College and Xavier University. Established in 1967, the IHSA encompasses 29 regions in nine zones and has more than 350 member colleges in 45 states and Canada, representing more than 6,500 riders in both hunt seat equitation, western horsemanship and reining.

IHSA competitions are unique from the horse shows with which most people are familiar. During IHSA shows, a rider randomly draws an unfamiliar horse’s name and is then judged on his or her ability to ride that horse in equitation and/or jumping classes. There is no warm-up time. This framework was designed to provide a level playing field for college riders and gives students the opportunity to compete in horse shows without having to own and care for their own horse.

 

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