Thacher’s Equestrian Team Has Its Best Season Since 2014

No cowboy hats here. Thacher’s English-style equestrian team finds success in competition and will be sending four of its seven riders to the regional finals.
When most people think of Thacher and horses—jeans, cowboy hats, and spurs come to mind. But, members of the English-style equestrian team don breeches, helmets, and crops when they ride. The seven-student-strong team competes against teams from public and private schools and private barns in the Hunt Seat category and has done well this season. In late January, they showed against 14 teams and came home with a blue ribbon. This past weekend, in the final regular season show, their high scores earned the Thacher team Reserve Champion status, or second place. Overall, the team earned more points this season than in any year since 2014.

Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) competitions are particularly challenging for the riders, as they ride horses supplied by another team, rather than their own horses. Emer ’21 had to adjust to this type of competition, “Coming from a riding background where I would only ever ride my own horse at shows—one I trusted, on whom I trained—the idea of jumping on a totally unfamiliar horse was definitely intimidating. However, I soon learned that these types of shows really test your flexibility and skill as a rider in a way that others don’t, and my riding has changed for the better as a result.”

The changes have paid off. “They rode really well, especially  considering they had very little practice!,” said coach Liz Mahoney. “Because of the rain, we didn’t get to ride as much as we would have liked to.” All of the riders performed well, and the “point riders” (the rider from the team who earned points for a given event) scored high, getting first and second place scores consistently. When asked what contributed to these results, Mahoney said, “This is the overall strongest team we have had in awhile; rather than one standout rider we have a lot.”

The riders have formed a tight bond. Jae said, “What I really enjoy about the horse shows is watching my friends compete in their classes and cheering them on. Seeing them complete a course and do it with confidence and grace makes me really happy.”

Four riders, Skye, Emer, Molly, and Sophie—all sophomores, qualified for Regional finals, which will be held March 3 at Elvenstar Training and Equestrian Center in Moorpark. If they place first or second at Regionals, they advance to Zone finals, which will be held in the Bay Area on March 23 and 24. Go Toads!

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