"]The 2009 Intercollegiate Dressage Association’s National Championship was one of many surprises. Hosts University of Findlay masterfully created a championship that was certainly worthy of the title and occasion. Kicking off events on Friday afternoon, Findlay’s 32-acre James L. Child Jr. Equestrian Complex became an Hawaiian paradise that quickly became over run with golf cart decorating and driving competitions designed to really build team spirit and provide a great deal of fun for student riders. Riders from University of New Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, University of Massachusetts, Delaware Valley, Lake Erie, Albion, Findlay, Otterbein, Virginia Intermont, North Carolina State, University of Florida, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Washington State, St. Andrews Presbyterian, Cazenovia, Central Florida, University of Kentucky, Averett, Centenary, Johnson & Wales, University of Connecticut and Florida State came to participate in the championship.
Things calmed down quite a bit that evening with an information-packed presentation by Betsy Steiner. Steiner, a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist and American World Championship team member, pulled on a 40-year career as competitor, trainer, judge, instructor and author to give the student riders and their coaches useful techniques that are part of a sport-specific Pilates-based exercise and body awareness program for the equestrian, EQUILATES™, which Steiner created.
On Saturday, the reason for the event got underway with teams of four competing in First Level, Upper Training, Lower Training and Introductory. University of New Hampshire‘s started off slowly with a Kim Guyer placing fourth in First Level. Upper Training saw UNH take a step forward with Kat Williams Barnard earning a combined average score of 66 percent. Lower Training ended with UNH’s Casey Hoatson’s first place score of 71.087 percent and the blue ribbon Bridget Shea’s third place in Intro gave the UNH team a combined score of 42 points and their first IDA National Championship. Three-time IDA national champions, Virginia Intermont finished in Reserve after a tie breaker with Delaware Valley.
In addition to the team awards, the IDA team sportsmanship award was presented to University of Findlay, Teresa McDonald of Virginia Tech was named IDA coach of the year and Virginia Intermont coach and IDA vice president Lisa Mosmueller-Terry was recognized for her contributions to the creation and development of the IDA with an induction into the IDA Hall of Fame. The new Trip Harting Memorial Trophy was presented to First Level winner Greg Schmid. The award was created to honor Harting, a talented rider, instructor and judge, who was an ardent supporter of the IDA and of young people participating in dressage.
The final day of the competition focused on riders competing as individuals with Otterbien’s Greg Schmid again taking top honors in First level, and Elizabeth Mirson of Virginia Intermont in reserve. Upper Training was won by Jessica Forend and reserve went to Ashley Parsons of Findlay. Averett’s Laura Thompson was champion of Lower Training and Allison Robbins of Albion placed in reserve. Intro champion was Colleen Grant of Otterbein and reserve went to Bridget Shea of University of New Hampshire.
“Findlay really knows how to host a national championship,” said Virginia Tech Coach and IDA board member, Teresa McDonald. “They really did an outstanding job of getting sponsors. They gave out great prizes, were incredibly organized and their students were amazing. They’ve really raised the bar for future IDA National hosts.”
All first place winners received a Henri de Revelle saddle from sponsors JPC Equestrian and the winning team received a $1,000 scholarship from Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance. IDA National sponsors also included Full Spectrum Tack Shop & Full Spectrum Friesian Stable, Wyldewood Tack Shop, Dressage Today, Whitson Properties, Cunningham & Cunningham Livestock Insurance, Sidelines Magazine, SmartPak, Perri’s Leather, Dos Equine LLC – Jan Grimm, Sidelines Saddlery, Michael & Mary Lou Sims, Margie Shoop Photography - Inspiring Images, Mountain Dew, International Riding Helmets (IRH), Intec, United States Dressage Federation (USDF)
Sue Kolstad, from Florence, Kentucky and Sue Madden-Mandas of Dayton, Ohio served as judges for the event.
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