Flying High: RedHawks Return From IHSA Nationals
What an exciting season this has been! Congratulations are in order to the Miami Hunt Seat Team on a 9th place finish at IHSA Nationals. Representing the RedHawks were hunt seat riders Charlotte Tate, Allie Drost, Jackie Yeager, Kayla Akers, Alex Roe, Rachel McConell, Helena Kervinen, Kylie Fleming. On the western side, rider Sam Kershner placed in the Intermediate horsemanship, and Miami alum Mary Forster also showed, taking Reserve National Champion in the Alumni Reining!
Jackie Yeager placed 9th in the Team Open Fences, her second time showing at Nationals and her senior year appearance in the IHSA. Of riding Skidmore’s Tony, Jackie told me, “he was perfect. He’s 19 and Skidmore just got him in December, but he was like riding any of their horses since he was so willing to do anything I asked.” When I encouraged Jackie to share words of wisdom for MUET at Nationals next year, her suggestion was ” I’d tell the team to just have fun! It’s a great honor to be able to go so leave the nerves at home and enjoy your ride.” Easier said than done, right? Congratulations on a great show season and career with MUET, Jackie.
Senior Allie Drost showed in the Team Open Flat and in the Individual Open Flat. For the Individual, both Charlotte Tate and Allie drew Roxette, a beautiful grey from Centenary College, and in the Team class, Allie rode the sweetly named Sunbear from Cazenovia to a 7th place ribbon. Allie shared that “all the horses were amazing and well behaved!” and wanted to say thank you to all the schools who brought horses. “As a senior and someone who went to Nationals all three of the years the team went, I hope the team continues to do awesome in the future. It was fun going with a team that is so young, Jackie and I were the only seniors. Also, just want to point out the fact that it takes the entire team to get to Nationals, so I hope everyone realizes what a great year we had overall!!!” Congratulations on a great season and career with MUET to Allie and all of our graduating seniors.
Team Intermediate Fences and Flat were both entered by MUET rider Alex Roe, who took 9th in the Fences and an honorable mention on the flat. Rider Charlotte Tate qualified for Individual Intermediate Flat, taking home a 10th place ribbon.
Rachel McConnell rode in the Team Novice Fences, a freshman this year at Miami. Entering the ring with Skidmore’s Charly (she described him as “an awesome draw”), Rachel advised “how important it was to not let nerves get in the way of riding. There were several good riders before me who made big mistakes simply because their nerves got to them.” I asked Rachel if she would have done anything differently, looking back on her class. “I was very happy with my ride, but looking back on it I wish I would have ridden every step a little more because I feel like I got a little ahead of myself during my ride,” Rachel shared. “For the team going to Nationals next year, I would just say make sure you practice a lot and work hard at home, that way at the horse show you can relax and enjoy your ride!” Sage advice, Rachel!
In the Team Novice Flat, Kayla Akers showed for Miami with a great ride, earning an honorable mention. Helena Kervinen showed in the Team Walk-Trot-Canter, also earning an honorable mention, and the team was rounded out by Kylie Fleming in the Team Walk Trot. Kylie placed the highest of all the RedHawks, earning a second place ribbon as Reserve National Champion in Walk-Trot.
On the western side of the competition, junior Sam Kershner showed Jay-R in the Intermediate Horsemanship. It was Sam’s first time at Nationals, and in the words of coach Beth Akers, “she’s homegrown!”. Before coming to Miami, Sam had never shown horses before, and has moved through the classes after starting in Intermediate I. Beth was thrilled to share that Sam had placed in the top 10 in the country. Congratulations to Sam and Beth on a successful trip!
Miami was also beautifully represented at IHSA Nationals by six of our herd- our horses joined the array needed to compete in all the classes in Harrisburg. Butterfly, Butch, Pleiades, Unicon, Cody, and Toby made the trip a few days early to acclimate and prepare for the horse show, with Director Lori Cramer, coach Lindsey Carmack, and student Jessi Thorne.
After their arrival in PA, Lindsey, Jessi, and alum Jamie Donovan worked the horses daily to prepare them for the grueling task ahead. In the words of Lori Cramer, our horses “represented Miami and the quality program, care, riding and coaching we offer.” Several of our herd placed in the ribbons, with Butch taking second place in the walk-trot, fourth and fifth in the walk, trot, canter, Toby received a fourth and fifth on the flat, Cody received a third in the alumi flat and fourth and fifth respectively. Unicon placed in the top ten in the walk trot canter and alumni flat, and Butterfly won the Individual Intermediate Fences, along with two second place ribbons on the flat. One of the team members confided in me that “Lindsey cried when Butterfly got a ribbon for winning her class, it was the cutest thing ever!”
A few years ago at IHSA Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky, large foam printed faces of the IHSA’s Executive Director Bob Cacchione began appearing in the crowd. Bob seemed to be everywhere (as in real life, which is also the case) and the tradition continues. A fitting tribute to Bob, who has been driving the IHSA for many years.
Congratulations to the entire MUET family on a great year. We couldn’t fly so high without all of your support and hard work. Stay tuned for summer updates!