St. Andrews Western Team Does It Again
For three years, St. Andrews Presbyterian College has fielded a Western Equestrian Team and for three years, the team has captured the regional championship -- the regular-season title for Western Equestrians in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).
Led by freshman Kelsey Moody, St. Andrews finished the season with 292 points, 58 points ahead of second-place Martin Community College. Moody won top individual honors, taking the American Quarter Horse Association high point rider regional championship with 108 points. Sarah Woody of Martin Community College finished second with 91 points.
"I feel like I have a great strategist for a director," said Carla Wennberg, head coach of the Western team, in speaking of Peggy McElveen, the director of the St. Andrews Equestrian Center. "Peggy is a master for strategy for our team."
For the team itself, Wennberg said, "We've developed some very good competitive riders. This year has been a great growing period in students on our team and the total number of horses added to our team."
The Western Team now holds 22 horses in a new barn built especially for the program. The horses are a combination of school-owned, student-owned, and leased horses.
"The students worked together and they learned this year to be a team together," said Wennberg. "Whether it was at home or away, we got a better understanding for competing together."
By virtue of her individual title, Moody has qualified for the national finals in Burbank, Calif., on May 9-11. The entire team hopes to qualify for the nationals, but must finish in the top four in the March 29-30 Western Semifinals hosted by St. Andrews. There are three semifinal events hosted nationwide with the top-three teams from each qualifying for the national finals.
In addition to competing as a team, three St. Andrews riders will compete in individual competition during the upcoming semifinals:
- Kayla Hay in Class 12 Intermediate
- Chelsea Caron in Class 14 Advanced
- Kelsey Moody in Class 15 Open and Class 16 Reining.
"I get the greatest feeling seeing students figure out how to ride, compete, and show better," said Wennberg. "By competing together, they also learn a lot of life's lessons. They've all learned how to be supportive and helpful to each other."
The St. Andrews Western Program builds upon an already successful equestrian program at the college. The college has earned six American National Riding Commission Intercollegiate National Championships (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007), Reserve Champion at the ANRC Intercollegiate National Championships (2004, 2006), two IHSA Zone Hunter Seat All-Star Championships (2002, 2004), six ISHA Hunter Seat Reserve Regional Team Championships (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), three IHSA Western Regional Team Championships (2006, 2007, 2008) and four IDA National Final Qualifications (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005).
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