Equestrian team aims for Stock Seat success

Courtesy Photo / gvsuequestrianteam.com
GVSU Equestrian Team

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / gvsuequestrianteam.com GVSU Equestrian Team

Bryce Derouin

The Grand Valley State equestrian stock seat team is optimistic that its hard work and dedication to pay off at the Stock Seat Regionals, which mark the first step for the riders in their attempts to make Nationals.

“It’s a really big deal for us,” said sophomore Kasey McKay. “This show will let us qualify for the semi-finals. It’s basically the next step of the postseason. If we don’t qualify here, our season is over. So this is a pretty big deal.”

In order to advance, the Lakers must have riders place in at least first or second place to move onto the semi-finals, which will take place in Tallahassee, Fla.

The drawing of the horses will dictate what horse each rider has to ride. This will be an important factor in the outcome of the show.

“It’s going to partially depend on the horses we draw,” said head coach Sarah Johnson. “We have to do patterns at Regionals, so it’s important for us to get our patterns down and have the horse perform how we want them to.”

GVSU hopes to use their previous experience of riding certain horses in the past to their advantage.

“We have ridden these horses before at a show previously,” Johnson said. “It should help us to remember who the horses were and remembering what they were like last time. Then we can go into the show and know what they are like.”

In a meet that’s this important, the smallest details can end up being the difference. The Lakers are intent on focusing on details to perfect their runs.

“The main thing that we will have to do is to focus on the details of our rides,” McKay said. “We will also need to present ourselves properly to the judge.”

The Lakers have put in extra time to prepare themselves for a show of this magnitude. GVSU is hopeful that they can qualify multiple riders for the semi-finals.

“We have several riders that are able to go this year,” Johnson said. “They have been working really hard, and some of them have been coming twice a week for lessons to improve their equitation so they can be at their best this weekend.”

The riders are optimistic that they will be able to have success at the show.

“We feel really confident,” McKay said. “We have all been working really hard individually and practicing all year for this and putting in a lot of time. Everyone on the team is a really strong rider so there is no reason that we should not be able to qualify.”

Stock seat is made up of six divisions beginning with walk or trot and also with increased experiences classes. The classes go up to intermediate, novice, advanced and open, while riders in these divisions all compete on the flat and riders in the open have the option to compete in reining.

The Regional Stock Show takes place on Saturday at Albion College.

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