Miami University Equestrian

The progress of Miami University Equestrian

Welcome To The Family

This year MUET had a record number of participants try out across three disciplines for the opportunity to be a member of the equestrian team. We are elated with the number of new members, as well as returning, and can’t wait to see what this season has to hold! Below you will find the rosters for each of the three teams.

Western Roster 

Hunt Seat Roster

Dressage Team

Miami University Equestrian Team members do far more than compete at horse shows. As a member of the team there are many service, learning, and team bonding activities throughout the year. MU-ET!


2018-2019 MUET Executive Board

Each year MUET elects a new executive board that guides the team throughout the year. We would like to take a minute to introduce each executive board member and congratulate them on their new role!

President – Victoria Lawler

Hi my name is Victoria Lawler and I am a senior political science, environmental science, and psychology major from Hudson, OH. I have been riding since I was 6 years old – competing primarily in the hunters. I currently own a young horse named Lydell who I compete with in the hunter ring. This will be my fourth year on the team and second year on the executive board so I am looking forward to continuing to develop our team and watching it succeed.

Fun Fact: I would like to go into the FBI to work in the behavioral analysis unit!


Vice President – Haley Hacala

My name is Haley Hacala and I am a senior Business Economics and Marketing double major from St. Louis, MO. I have been riding hunters and jumpers for 16 years and this is my fourth year on the hunt seat team at Miami. In addition to riding for the team, I also own my horse, Toula, who I show in the hunters in many competitions around the midwest. This will be my second year on exec, so I am very excited to continue leading the team and welcome the new riders!

Fun Fact: I studied abroad for six weeks, which was the longest I’ve gone without riding since the age of 5.


Hunt Seat Co-Captain – Emma Alhalel

My name is Emma Alhalel and I am a senior studying marketing with a minor in fashion design from Chicago, Illinois. I have the distinct honor of being one of the MUET captains this year and look forward to jumping into a fantastic year together!  I have been riding since I was 7 years old and have had the pleasure of showing in the hunter/jumpers since then. I am so excited for my first year on the exec team and can’t wait to meet all our new members!

Fun Fact: I can name every president in order!


Hunt Seat Co-Captain – Kelsey Fenger

My name is Kelsey Fenger and I am a junior marketing major from Los Altos Hills, California. I have been riding horses for 14 years and have had the opportunity to compete at the top levels of the equitation and jumper world as well as participate in IEA for 6 years and now as a college student, IHSA. This year, I am thrilled to represent MUET as one of the Hunt Seat Captains and can’t wait to have another great year and welcome the new members to this fantastic team!

Fun Fact: I was born in London and I have a twin brother that also goes to Miami!


Western Captain – Claire Turner

My name is Claire Turner, and I a zoology major with pre-med and environmental science co-majors. I have been riding and working with horses since high school and am also a student employee at the equestrian center. At home, I am involved in volunteering at a therapeutic riding program. I love to train in reining and cutting when I am not at school. I am really looking forward to serving the team as western team captain this year as we move into out new region.

Claire Turner

Fun Fact: I am fostering a service dog this semester.

Dressage Captain – Saige Sparks

I am a Junior majoring in Zoology. I was put on a horse for the first time when I was 2 years old. My grandma had horses and therefore I was always around them. When I was in about 5th or 6th grade I started taking lessons and my grandma sent me to one of her best friends, Isi Brown who I became a working student for shortly after and then joined the Dressage team when I started college.

Fun Fact: When I first got into riding as a little kid I hated riding in saddles and only liked riding with a bareback pad.


Treasurer – Emily Shirley

I am a Finance and Entrepreneurship student from Minneapolis, MN and have been riding since I was 5. I picked up eventing around the age of 12, since then, I have ridden countless horses, moved 2 up to the CCI* level, and have extensive experience with “green” horses. My favorite part of riding is teaching and developing, especially young, horses to help them reach their full potential. I’m looking forward to serving MUET this year by managing the finances of the team so that all members, including myself, can continue doing what they love.

Fun Fact: I have a twin and have been kicked in the head by a horse (not at Miami).


Secretary – Ashlyn Anderson

Bio: I’m a senior majoring in Microbiology, with a Pre-Med Co-Major, and 2 minors in Molecular Biology and French. I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and I have been riding for 14 years. I was a member of Pony Club and owned my own horse for 7 years before coming to Oxford. I currently work as student staff for Miami’s barn and in an on-campus lab where I conduct research on Adenovirus. I’m very excited to be MUET’s secretary again this year as we continue to develop and strengthen our team!

Fun Fact: I crossed the Panama Canal when I was 7.


Bookkeeper – Elizabeth Saccoliti

My name is Elizabeth Saccoliti and I am a junior Economics and Information Systems double major at Miami. I have lived in northern New Jersey my whole life, right across the Hudson River from New York City. I started riding when I was 7 and showed locally in the equitation and hunter divisions in high school. I jumped right in after joining the team and became a member of the Derby Day Committee and the Service and Fundraising Committee during my freshman and sophomore years.  I look forward to serving as bookkeeper this year to give back to the team that has made Miami feel like home!

Fun Fact: I studied abroad the summer after my freshman year and loved it so much that I will be going abroad again this J term.


Service & Fundraising Chair – Emily Van Zeeland

My name is Emily Van Zeeland and I am a junior at Miami majoring in Bioengineering/Pre-Veterinary Studies. I started riding 15 years ago in my hometown of Cleveland, OH and I primarily compete in Eventing and Dressage. This will be my third year as a member of Miami’s Dressage Team and my second year as a member of the Executive Board. So far I have loved every minute of it and I can’t wait for another incredible year with the team that I consider family!

Fun Fact: I taught my betta fish to jump out of the water.


Public Relations – Kayla Kramer

 My name is Kayla Kramer and I am from Cincinnati, OH. I’ve been riding for 12 years, competing in eventing and dressage. I am a junior vocal performance major with a musical theatre minor. I am in Pony Club and have my C1 and HB certifications and competed at IDA Nationals last year. I am pumped to be on Exec this year and look forward to getting to know the new members.

Fun Fact: I sing Opera!


Travel Coordinator – Brittany Johnson

My name is Brittany Johnson and I’m a junior at Miami studying Athletic Training with a Nutrition minor. I am from Saint Charles, Illinois and have been riding since I was about 9 years old. I started out with eventing, switched to hunter/jumper and am now competing in dressage. This is my third year on the equestrian team here at Miami and this is my second year serving the executive board as the travel coordinator. I am really excited to take my knowledge from the previous year and apply it to this year so all travel between all three teams goes as smooth as possible. MU — ET !

Fun Fact: I was born in England and have dual citizenship with Germany and England.


Miami Bound Programs Success

What a great week at the equestrian center!   We had 28 incoming students join us Monday evening through Thursday afternoon for a week of fun and learning.  Incoming students are able to move into their dorms early to participate in Miami Bound.  Students had demonstrations and two lessons each day.  It was great to get to know each one of them and look forward to them being the newest members of the MUET family.  The executive board members organized evening activities that included bowling and ice skating at Goggin.

MB group bowling

Night of Bowling

MB skating 2018

Our newest members took to the ice!

New this year, was Miami Bound for second year students.  Fifteen sophomores arrived at the barn on Wednesday and finished up their experience Friday afternoon.  The sophomore class learned about how to bring a horse back to work, they worked with the same mount for the entire week being able to chart their progress throughout.  They tried their skills at lunging, teaching a lunge lesson to their peers, wrapping, and basic first aid.


Miami Bound Sophomores

The staff enjoyed meeting and working with all of the students throughout the week and are looking forward to a great 2018-2019 season!

Early August Recap – EAP & WEC Show

Usually around early August the staff at Miami equestrian is enjoying a little down time, summer camp is over and the students have not yet begun to arrive for school. However, this year early August was packed with many exciting things, including having three riders represent Miami at the Emerging Athletes Program, and four horse and rider pairs compete at the World Equestrian Center Summer III horse show.

Sophomore Maggie Niesen, Sophomore Tess Von Hemel, and intern Ashley Lawson participated in four days of intense clinics with Jeff Cook at World Equestrian Center.

Each rider learned a lot both in the barn and in the ring and hopes to attend another EAP session in the future!


After just a short two-day break from EAP, Miami horses and riders headed back to World Equestrian Center to close out summer with one last horse show.

2018 graduate Jill O’Bryan showed Miami’s “Count The Cash” as a final hurrah before beginning her new job in Texas. Jill and Cash competed in the intermediate jumper division and had a great show finishing with a trio of sixth place finishes and a seventh place, including a sixth place finish in their classic round. Jill will be missed around the barn and we wish her the best of luck in Texas!

Maggie Niesen paired up with her summer lease “Varsity” and competed in the adult hunters, the adult equitation, the ariat medal, and the USHJA national hunter derby. Maggie had many top placings with lovely rounds – She finished second in the adult hunter classic, second in her under saddle class, and fifth in the non-pro derby, as well as many other top ribbons.


Sophomore Tess Von Hemel competed in the low adult jumpers. She joined Miami all the way from Oklahoma for two shows this summer to compete her barn favorite “Stellar.” Tess and Stellar grew exponentially over the summer and received many great ribbons while moving up a division. Tess and Stellar finished second, fifth, and sixth in their division.

Finally, intern Ashley Lawson competed “S.F Carco” in the high adult jumper division. Carco was a star, as per usual and they finished third, fourth, and fifth in their division, as well as a fifth place finish in the 1.15 meter NAL classic.

Spending a couple weeks at World Equestrian Center was a great way to round out a summer of showing. In just a few short days the freshman will arrive and the barn will be back in full swing!

MUET Members Accepted into Emerging Athletes Program

We are so happy to announce that two of our hunt seat team members and one of our interns was accepted into the USHJA Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/Emerging Athletes Program.

This program consists of an application based entry into a five-day intensive clinic both in and out of the saddle. Along with daily mounted clinic and stable management sessions, riders must complete a written test and compete in a nations cup style competition on the final day.

The Zone 5 clinic will take place at the World Equestrian Center on August 1-5.

The following riders will represent Miami at the clinic:

  • Sophmore Tess Von Hemel


  • Sophmore Maggie Niesencharlie
  • Intern Ashley Lawson



Robert Murphy Stables Horse Show

Last week MUET members packed up their bags and headed to the Kentucky Horse Park on July 4th, for four days of showing at the Robert Murphy Stables Horse Show. The temperatures were hot, but spirits were high as the horses and riders enjoyed the scenic horse park.


Maggie Niesen started the week off with Pizarro in the non-pro hunter division. Pizarro was formerly a jumper and stepped up to the plate in his hunter debut. Maggie and Pizarro finished fifth in the under saddle, and received a pair of sixths over fences.


On Sunday, Maggie took Pizarro for a spin in the jumper ring as well. This was Maggie’s first time competing in the jumpers and Pizarro was happy to show her the ropes.


Maggie also showed Varsity, known as Charlie in the adult amateur hunters. Charlie and Maggie put in a beautiful round and were fourth in a very large 3′ warm-up class. Maggie was also second in the adult equitation on the flat, as well as several ribbons over fences.


Miami also had two more hunters competing – Calvin Benning with Marley Vieta, and Ashlyn Anderson with Artistic.


Marley competed for the first time in the intermediate adult hunters and equitation with Calvin. A beautiful flat ride earned her first place in the equitation, as well as seventh in the intermediate equitation over fences and eighth in her hunter trip.

Ashlyn and Lexus have been enjoying their summer together competing in the long stirrup division. Lexus earned a third place finish in the long stirrup under saddle, with over 20 horses showing in the class. Ashlyn and Lexus were also fifth and eighth over fences on Sunday. IMG_0058 (1)IMG_0063


Miami horses Stellar, Carco, and Cash were speedy fast in the jumper ring, putting in some great rounds.

Jill O’Bryan showed Count the Cash in the Pre-Intermediate jumper division. They make a great pair and improve each time they’re in the ring, with multiple double clear rounds throughout the weekend.

Tess Von Hemel made the journey all the way from Oklahoma to compete Stellar in the schooling jumper division. Tess and Stellar had a great showing, finishing first in their last round of the weekend! She laid down a quick, clean round early on and her time held to secure the win. They were also second, fifth, and eighth in their classes throughout the weekend.

Finally, intern Ashley Dowler-Lawson showed S.F Carco in the low adult jumpers. Carco competed for the first time in a couple of years and was very happy to be back in the show ring! Ashley and Carco were fifth with a double clear on Saturday.


Looking ahead, a few Miami riders will participate in the Emerging Athletes Program in August, followed by the World Equestrian Center Summer Series Finale.



MUET Takes on Country Heir

This past week Haley Hacala and Maggie Niesen traveled to the Kentucky Horse Park to take part in week two of Country Heir.  Country Heir is a premier “AA” rated show that hosted over 1600 horses with 7 arenas going throughout the week.

We enjoyed meeting some MUET alums while we were there and hearing what they are up to.

Senior Haley Hacala showed her own horse Hidden Creek’s Toula in the younger Adult Hunters and Ariat Adult Medal.  Haley and Toula placed 8th out of 30 in the Ariat Medal, 5th out of 40 in one of their adult hunter trips and made the call back for the NAL Adult Hunter Classic and placed 8th out of 46.  It was a pleasure having Toula with us for the week!

Haley and Toula


Haley also brought Miami’s Stellar and competing in the training jumpers and Low Adult Jumpers.

Sophomore Maggie Niesen brought Miami’s Varsity, better known as Charlie and competed in the younger Adult Hunters, Ariat Adult Medal, and the USHJA National Derby.  Charlie was ready to step up to the competition and was lovely all week.  Maggie and Charlie were 7th in one of their adult hunter trips and 7th in the adult under saddle both of which had 40 entries in the class.  They also had a great time competing in the Walnut Ring in the Derby.


Maggie and Charlie

We are looking forward to our next show which will also be at the Kentucky Horse Park July 4-8.

Windfall Farm Horse Show

This past weekend several Miami riders and horses traveled to the Windfall Farm Horse Show in Goshen, Ohio.  The horses schooled great on Friday and we survived a large storm!Baby horses

The young horses, Northwest and Napolitano made their horse show debut with Ashley Dowler at the show.  Northwest showed in the future hunters and enjoyed his time in the arena.  Napolitano schooled each day and became more confident each time.  We are looking forward to seeing them grow throughout the summer.


Carlo and Ashlyn

Carlo Costanzo and Ashlyn Anderson also attended the show competing in the Limit Hunters and Limit Equitation.  Carlo received two firsts on Saturday over fences and a second and a third over fences on Sunday making him Champion in the Limit Hunters with Calvin Benning.  Ashlyn received two seconds on Saturday and a third and a fourth on Sunday making her Reserve Champion of the division on Lexus.  Both riders learned a lot this weekend and are both are looking forward to the next show.

We will be traveling to Country Heir II next week with a couple of horses.  Stay tuned for updates from our trip to Kentucky!

MUET Says Farewell and Congratulations to Our Graduating Class



We said farewell to our graduating class this past weekend, as they walked across the stage to receive the diplomas they worked so hard to earn. MUET is a family, and while we will dearly miss our senior class, we are so excited for this next chapter of their lives! Take a look back at our events celebrating the end of our school year and our graduating class.

On April 21st and 22nd, we hosted our annual gala and senior showcase, celebrating the end of a fantastic year and looking back on all of the wonderful memories. Team members, families, and friends came together to reflect on the accomplishments of the season and to congratulate our graduating class.

Our senior class put on a musical performance on Sunday morning, showcasing their talents in choreographed group rides. Each discipline worked hard to create the performances and had a wonderful time performing for their friends, families, and classmates!

DSC_0948 (1)

The Western group rode first, performing a pattern of their own creation that featured classic moves like “threading the needle,” pinwheels, group turns, and spins. Congratulations to our riders and seniors Lydia Yount, Sarah Hasasneh, Monique Booher, Lauren Martyn, Megan Ashbrook! With a special appearance from graduating senior Sarah Kammer.

Dressage rode next, with riders Emily Grzeda, Mariah Knagg, and Valerie Copits performing traditional dressage movements including circles, leg yields, and shoulder-in. Congratulations riders!


We ended the showcase with a performance from our hunt seat riders. Jill O’Bryan, Tyler Miles, Julia Mason, Laura Fitzgerald, Kelly O’Bryan, and Megan O’Connell rode to music from “The Greatest Showman” as they showcased their talents on the flat and over jumps.


We are so proud of everyone! Check out videos of their rides here:

The seniors also took an opportunity before Commencement to come down to the barn to take graduation pictures with their favorite horse teammates.




MUET is a family, and we hope our graduating class will return and visit often! Congratulations once again to our seniors, and we hope everyone has a fantastic summer!


IHSA Nationals and Club Sports Banquet

Regular classes have ended, the weather is gorgeous, and students and horses had a great weekend. Today we would like to reflect on two great accomplishments from the past week.

Last week/weekend, Coach Beth Frey and team member Lauren Martyn traveled to Harrisburg, PA for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association national competition.


Lauren Martyn and Coach Beth

Lauren competed in the Open Horsemanship aboard a horse named Gretel. The two rocked a great pattern in a tough class, and earned 8th place! Congratulations Lauren!

This week, members of our team attended the annual Miami Recreation Club Sports Banquet, where 2 of our seniors received recognition for their contributions to the Equestrian team. Congratulations to Kelly O’Bryan and Mariah Knagg for winning Senior Awards!


Kelly O’Bryan and Mariah Knagg

Miami Equestrian was also the proud recipient of the Club Sport of the Year award! Congratulations to all students, staff, coaches, and of course, horses, who made this possible!


Way to go MUET!

Join us next week to celebrate our senior class!

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