Katie Corwin – A Closer Look at an Adelphi Rider

 

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Corwin and one of the barn horse’s head out for a ride.

Katie Corwin is a somewhat new addition to the Adelphi Equestrian Team. Though she has only been a part of the team for a year, her love of horses began much earlier than that. Her uncle has owned thoroughbred race horses for as long as she can remember, and her time around them has cultivated a great love for the animal.

“I always loved being around horses, but since they were always in training, it was a strict no riding policy,” said Corwin. “Even though I wasn’t allowed to ride the horses, watching the horses run around the track was majestic enough for me to be hooked!”

Despite never being in the saddle when she was younger, Corwin did everything she could to spend time with the horses in other ways. From mucking stalls to brushing and washing them, she made sure that she was hanging around the track as much as possible. This dedicated care in her earlier years, and her current role as an Adelphi rider, has taught her the importance of being entirely in synch with the horse she’s riding on.

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Corwin takes a moment to show some love to one of the horses at the stables.

“I mean just think about it; one person is put in charge of a thousand pound animal that is capable of running at speeds of over 30 miles per hour,” said Corwin. “I never quite realized how in touch you had to be with the horse until I started riding. Even something as simple as where you look can dictate where and when your horse will move.”

Now that Corwin has had a chance to ride, she couldn’t imagine ever stopping. Despite a few spooks that came along with some minor mistakes, like pulling the reins too hard or stopping the horse too suddenly, Corwin has known nothing but joy when riding. Not only does she feel empowered by taking the reins, she also feels that she’s constantly growing in her riding skills.

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Excited to ride, Corwin jumps on the saddle to practice her skills.

“There is something very liberating about being on top of an amazing animal while the sun is shining down on you,” she said. “Riding is also a never ending learning experience. It feels good when you hop off a horse and realize you learned something new or overcame something that you couldn’t do the week before.”

Corwin looks forward to continuing her career as an Adelphi rider. She and It’s a Blue Moon, one of her uncle’s horse who she has affectionately nicknamed Blue, are excited to tackle whatever comes next.

 

 

 

How to Plan a Horse Show

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The AU Equestrian Team has lessons and paints the standards before the show. (Courtesy of the AU Equestrian Instagram)

Planning a horse show takes quite a bit of work. The shows, which take place weekly during the fall semester, are organized by the student riders. The list of responsibilities that they have are long and involved. Here are just a few of the tasks they need to accomplish in order to have a successful, smooth-running competition.

Reserving the Barn: The horse show needs to take place at one of the many college barns on Long Island. Because so many students and horses will be coming to the barn at one time, there can’t be any other type of recreational riding during the designated competition time. The student needs to reserve the barn so that it’s entirely free for the show.

Getting the Judge: In order for there to be a competition, there needs to be a judge. These individuals are IHSA certified, so they know exactly how and what to judge in terms of rider position and horse gait. Students organizing a horse show need to reach out to a judge and make sure that he or she can come to the specified barn on the specific date.

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Riders organize the ribbons before an upcoming show. (Courtesy of the AU Equestrian Instagram)

Getting Stewards: These people are responsible for helping the horse show run smoothly. If someone falls off their horse or is otherwise injured, stewards are responsible for keeping everyone calm and orderly. There needs to be three stewards at each show, and the students organizing the show needs to contact each steward and make sure that he or she is available for the specific date and time.

Ribbons: Riders that win anywhere from 1st to 6th place will receive a ribbon for their accomplishment. Certain colors correspond to certain places: blue is designated for first, red is for second, yellow is for third, white is for fourth, pink is for fifth, and green is for sixth. The riders ordering the ribbons needs to make sure that the place won, the name of the university, and the phrase “IHSA Show” is printed on each. Adelphi University uses Hodges Badge to get the ribbons.

Numbers: Each rider needs to have a number that they attach to the back of their show coat. This makes it easier for the judge to identify each rider and lessens the risk of any mix-ups. The students need to make sure that these numbers have been printed and also needs to provide a tie for each competitor so that he or she can attach it.

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Adelphi riders organized the pamphlet for an October show, complete with the IHSA’s 50th anniversary emblem.

Ads: The students organizing the event are responsible for collecting ads from local stores to advertise in the show program. Each vendor pays for page space, and this helps raise money for the college’s equestrian team. At Adelphi, a quarter of a page is $25, half a page is $50, and a full page is $100.

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The competitors and classes of the October 9th horse show needed to be hand-typed by the riders organizing the competition.

Program: Each show needs to have a program that lists the names and classes of the riders competing, include the ads, and must have a cover page that features the current IHSA emblem and the IHSA sponsors. This is often a tedious task, as the names and classes of the riders often need to be written out by hand.

Barn Cleanup: The riders that are in charge of organizing the show need to make sure that the barn is tidy. Garbage must be cleaned up and the standards, which are the poles the horses jump over, need to be painted.

 

 

A Recap of Zones

 

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President Ashley Seery, Vice President Cassandra Costello, and Coach Kristen Meoli pose for a picture as Costello shows off her hard-earned ribbons.

This year, one of Adelphi’s most talented riders and Vice President of the Adelphi Equestrian Team, Cassandra Costello, participated in the Zones competition. Held in Skidmore, Saratoga Springs, this horse show featured jumping and flat competitions for five regions within zone two.

Costello competed in the Novice Flat and the Novice Jumping divisions, representing region four. Riders from Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, LIU Post University, Suffolk County Community College, Ithaca College, and a handful of other schools made an appearance.

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Costello remains poised and focused as she competes in the Novice Flat category. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Seery)

Costello was the only rider from Adelphi to be a part of Zones. Her Grand Champion placement in Novice Over Fences and Reserved Champion in the Novice Flat in the IHSA horse show qualified her to move up in the competition. This is a feat that takes talent and dedication, and her teammates were very excited that she made it this far in the competition.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Ashley Seery, fellow rider and President of the Adelphi Equestrian Club. “It was a great experience to watch Cass ride there in her senior year. I look forward to trying and competing there next year.”

Costello came in 9th place in the Novice Flat and 10th place in the Novice Jumping against a collective 20 competitors. Riders in Novice Flat are judged for their position and the gaits of their horses. Those in Novice Jumping are judged for their ability to keep their form during jumps, and the general flow of their riding is taken into account.

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Costello maintains proper form and posture as she completes a jump. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Seery)

Tiny things, such as a horse that seems too wild or an extra step when coming out of a jump, will lead to docked points. This makes for a high-pressure competition, one that Costello was initially nervous about.

“Zones was so scary and nerve-wracking, but I had the time of my life,” she said. “I never expected to get this far in college riding. So making it this far was amazing!”

Getting this far into the competition was something she had never accomplished before, so though Zones was stressful, Costello enjoyed the experience immensely.

“I had a ton of fun being there with my friends and family,” she said. “Even though I didn’t place well, I had two great rides. It was the perfect way to end my undergraduate years.”

To learn more about the IHSA, please click here. To find out more about the next round of competition, one that will take place in Kentucky, please click here.

 

Different Types of Riding

 

There are many different ways to ride a horse, and both pacing and foot placement play a large role in overall presentation. Each movement is calculated and precise, down to the individual beats of the horse’s hooves. These first four gaits are the four most common gaits that horses are ridden in.

Walk – Walking simply means that the horse walks as it normally would. It’s classified as a “four-beat gait,” as there are four, distinct beats produced from the horse’s hooves. The rider can make their horse walk by applying gentle pressure from their legs.

Trot – Trotting is a fast type of walk, characterized by the horse’s diagonally symmetrical movements, and is otherwise known as a “two-beat gait.” During this higher speed pace, the horse is prompted to pick up a front leg and a back leg simultaneously, while keeping the other two on the ground. For example, if a horse were to pick up its front left leg, it would also pick up its back right leg. Conversely, if it were to pick up its front right leg, it would then also pick up its back left leg. In this way, the movements of its legs are paired together in a crosswise manner, producing a steady rhythm for both the horse and the rider.

To spur the horse to move in this way, the rider simply squeezes the horse with his or her legs, harder than when telling the horse to walk. Sometimes, a gentle nudge or kick is required.

Canter– Cantering is one of the speedier ways of moving for a horse. Faster than a trot and yet slower than a gallop, it’s known as a “three-beat gait.” This is because three of the horse’s four hooves are on the ground at any given time.

A left-lead canter simply means the cues for the horse are being given from the left side of the rider. In order to command a horse to left-lead canter, there needs to be a firm grip on the outside right reins, and the rider needs to intermittently apply pressure to the inside left reins. While doing this, he or she must also apply pressure with the left leg. The same steps are applied for a right-lead canter, except the right side is the one that delivers the cues.

Gallop – Galloping is the absolute fastest a horse can travel, and it’s a “four-beat gait,” as each of the horse’s four hooves are on the ground within a millisecond of each other. This gait is not often used by riders, as it can be incredibly dangerous. A rider can command a horse to gallop by following the same steps he or she uses to induce a canter, and then use additional cues to increase the speed. These are often specific to the rider, but can include more leg pressure, clucking or kissing noises, or hand movements.

Zone 2 Region 4 Horse Show

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Coach Jennifer Henick, teammate Emma Martin, Vice President Cassandra Costello, President Ashley Seery, and Coach Kristen Meoli show off all the ribbons won.

Just this past weekend, two of Adelphi University’s finest riders competed in the Zone 2 Region 4 Horse Show. On March 26, President Ashley Seery and Vice President Cassandra Costello headed over to Good Shepard Farm in Yaphank, which houses the barn for St. Joseph’s College. This show required riders to have earned at least 36 points during the previous show, making it a difficult competition to enter into.

As a whole, the Adelphi University Equestrian Team won 7th place after competing against 11 other teams. This is an improvement from last year, as in 2016, the team has placed 8th. Seery placed 6th in her walk-trot class, and she found the show fun, despite having to deal with the early-morning downpour.

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President Seery concentrates as she competes in the walk-trot class. 

“I think other than the weather, it ran really well,” said Seery. “It actually ended early which was a very nice change of pace from previous shows. It was an amazing experience, and I’m really glad I got to be there, both competing and as support to my teammate.”

Cassandra Costello won Grand Champion in the Novice Over Fences category and Reserved Champion in the Novice Flat category. She, too, thought that being a part of the show was an amazing experience.

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Vice President Costello demonstrates her jumping skills as she wins the Novice Over Fences class. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Seery)

“I learned a lot from one day and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said. “The show ran really well and went smoothly. Everyone at the show was so supportive of each other and they all want you to do well while you are there.”

Because Costello placed first in the Novice Over Fences and second in Novice Flat, she will move on to compete against other riders at Skidmore College. This competition, otherwise known as Zones, will take place in Saratoga Springs on April 8th.

To find out more information about local show dates, please click here. For news about national IHSA shows, please click here.