As manager of St. John’s equestrian team, I am primarily responsible for helping make sure that each show day runs smoothly for our team and recording the scores of our riders. There are many things that I need to prepare to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time.
St. John’s competes in the Inter-School Horse Show (ISHS) with other schools in the area. Shows for the ISHS take place at Oakland Stables or Not Fancy Farm (NFF). Our most recent show on Sunday, Feb. 24, was at NFF. On a typical show day, I arrive at the farm around 8:30 am. I meet up with any varsity riders competing that day and Ms. Gelso, our coach.
As soon as we are all ready, Ms. Gelso and I go to the office, check in our team and receive our riding assignments for the day. The riders are assigned the times they will be competing and the horse they will be riding. Most times, riders are assigned to a horse they have never ridden before or have competed with only once or twice.
Next, we have to get our first rider ready to compete, as well as tack up their horse. Tacking a horse involves putting on the saddle and bridle so the rider can mount. Once the horse is tacked and ready, we take the horse from the barn to the indoor rink, where the competition takes place. We get the rider on, adjust the stirrups to make sure they are the correct length for the rider and check the girth, which holds the saddle in place.
After the horse and rider are ready, they go into the arena and begin the competition. Each section has three different parts. The first is two flat or under-saddle classes. Here the riders are judged on how they control the horse and how they look on the horse. If a rider gets a ribbon in one or both of the flat classes, they move on to the jumping class. Each level (advanced, intermediate, future intermediate, novice, and maiden) has a different jumping course that they have to follow. They are also given ribbons for performance in this class as well.
We repeat the same thing for each rider in all five divisions. A horse show typically lasts from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. It can be a long day with many riders to organize and help. By the end of the day, I am usually pretty tired because I am standing most of the time at the shows. Being manager can be pretty difficult, but it is fun to spend all day with friends and horses. St. John’s varsity team is currently in fourth place and the JV team is in second place in the ISHS. Our last show is the ISHS invitational on Sunday, March 31.