Friday, April 18, 2008

Last Year IWEC

So, last year Del Val hosted the IWEC competition and I was fortunate enough to make the team and compete against the other countries that traveled all the way to America. In the picture above you can see all the students who participated with their respected flags. The teams consisted of Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, Great Britain, Italy and of course the USA.

In this picture I am riding my horse Image in the show jumping part of the competition. I was so lucky to draw him!!!

Delaware Valley College has an exchange program with Hartbury College in Britain so four years ago it was only a competition between the two of us but now it has expanded to more countries. Even though there are more of us now we have tried to keep the original competition alive so there are two teams. One that competes against all the countries and one that competes only against the British team, we call it the Delary Dish competition. ( that is the team I was on)
In both competitions there are three phases... Dressage, Show Jumping and a written test. Last year we ended up 1st in the Delary Dish and 2nd in the larger competition.

This is a picture of Kaitlyn, one of the members of the larger competition, riding Bold during her show jumping round

Tractor Rally In Trenton, NJ

One of the requirements of our school is that we attend events that are relevant to the equine industry and agriculture. Local farmers in New Jersey have been concerned that our Governor has made a proposal to eliminate funding to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. So as an "educated agricultural" student I decided to become involved and attend a scheduled protest in Trenton to insure that agriculture in New Jersey will not be over looked. Farmers from all over New Jersey brought tractors and livestock to our state capital in Trenton. For those of you who are not familiar with Trenton...lets just say that tractors and livestock are not part of the usual city landscape!

I spent the day with fellow students and farmers and I can say for sure that our state assembly got a small picture of the passion behind farming in the Garden State. I have never been a part of any political action group before and I am proud that I was there to help make sure that the farmers made their concerns known. I have made many friends of students that have family farms across the East Coast and I now realize how hard it is for that industry to maintain their income and traditions. I think we need to thank the farmers across the country for all the work they do and the contributions that they make for all of us.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Email Sent out to the Student Body

Dear College Community,

Delaware Valley College has been invited to represent the United States at an Intercollegiate International World Equestrian Cup (IWEC). Four students compete on each team and earn points for their team based on their performance in show jumping, dressage, and a written horse knowledge examination. This year the competition will take place in Holland, Europe from May 28th through June 1st.

The Equine Studies Program hosted tryouts to select the team of four riders best suited to represent the United States in the IWEC. Riders where evaluated by a panel of Equine Studies faculty members on their dressage, show jumping, and equine knowledge. The Equine Studies Program is fortune to have numerous athletic and talented horses to provide a means for testing riders in preparation for competing in Europe. The judging panel was impressed by the caliber of riders and their ability to make the horses perform, which made it difficult to choose just four students to represent Delaware Valley College. We encourage those students who did not make the team this year to tryout again next year.

Please congratulate the following students on their appointment to the DVC International Horse Show Team:

Sara Gumbiner (That's ME!!!!!) :D

Kaitlyn McLaughlin

Devan McNamera

Chantal Plank

Thank you for your continuous support of the equestrian endeavors of Delaware Valley College. The team appreciates any donations for funding their trip overseas. If you are interesting in making a donation, please contact Mr. Angelo Telatin at .


Angelo Telatin

Equine Studies Faculty

Coach, International Intercollegiate Team

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

California Here We Come!!!!

It is finally the day of the show and we have four of our own riders that are competing to go to nationals in LA, California. I am one of the four!!! :) The first and second place riders of every class qualify for nationals so I am hoping that I will ride well enough to be put into the top two.

When it’s my turn to ride I draw JR, one of our horses that I don't usually get along with. I am literally shaking in my boots as I stand at the gate waiting to go in. I have not been this nervous about a show in a long time.

I focus on every jump, doing my best to hit every spot and every lead. I end up with one wrong lead and I try to change it before the second jump but JR trips! Thank goodness the second jump still comes up smooth. So now it just depends on how the others do I suppose.

After all of the other competitors jump, the judge calls back three numbers for a ride off...I am one of the three!!! This means that only two of us will advance to nationals, so it is imperative that I ride the test well. The test starts with a short approach to the first jump, then proceeds to a roll back. Then we are instructed to halt facing the wall. Next, broken line to an oxer and end by promptly leaving the ring at a walk. My round was smooth b
ut I ended with the wrong lead and I was slow to come back to the walk at the end of my test so…. to state the obvious I am worried that I would not move to nationals.

Getting Tips From the Founder of IHSA, Bob Cacchione, after my ride

Then, all of the riders are called to the middle of the ring. They call places 8th through 4th and I start to cross my fingers and pray. When 3rd place is called it’s not me! I AM GOING TO NATIONALS!!!!! I have placed second in the class- probably due to my wrong lead and late walk but that’s OK because I have another shot!!!

Two of our other Delaware Valley riders also advanced to nationals. A Freshman who is competing in Walk/Trot/Canter, and a Junior who is competing in Intermediate Flat. I will be competing in Intermediate Over Fences. Wish us luck and I will keep you posted! And good luck to all the other IHSA riders out there….we’ll see you in California!

Hosting Zones

Our Zone 3 horse show is approaching quickly and we have very little time and a whole lot to do!Delaware Valley College is hosting Zones this year so it is up to us to make sure that the facility is ready for all four regions to compete. There are 51 schools in our Zone so there will easily be 40 schools competing. The furthest school is traveling six hours from Buffalo NY!
There has been a lot of planning that has been taking place from figuring what horses to use and how many we need to bring in, to designing the jump courses to be difficult but also ride smoothly. The biggest obstacle that we have run into this year has been finding a landscaper to decorate our jumps...for FREE. Ha Ha yea so you can imagine that most companies aren't going to love that idea. It has quickly become my problem, four days before the show to find nurseries that will donate or lend plants to the school to help make our course presentable. Fortunately there are a few places in the area that were incredibly kind and let us use their plants for the day. We arrived at the barn at 10:00am and didn't leave until 9:05pm, so it was a very long day but
the place looks great, especially for having spent no money at all!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

A look at a New Discipline

One of my goals in earning an equine degree is to get exposure to equine disciplines that I would not have access to otherwise. This semester I am enrolled in a class called Driving the Single Horse. Delaware Valley College hosted an open driving competition and our class was required to attend. I arrived at the competition at about 9:30 AM and by this time the competition was well on its way. I walked into the indoor to find an intricately designed cones course that looked different from any competitive equine event that I have ever seen. Just looking at the cones set up gave me an appreciation for the difficulty of the discipline. When the first horse came in I was extremely impressed with the turnout of not only the equipment, but of the horse and driver as well. But before the cones course, the driver performed a Dressage test. Only for this Dressage test, not only did the driver have to memorize the test and be accurate- but he had to maneuver around the cones at the same time. As soon as the competitor completed the Dressage test, the judge gave a few pointers to the driver - about equipment, his driving technique or just a quick tip. She then sent him on his way to complete the cones course. I quickly discovered that speed and accuracy are the keys to this game. With tennis balls balanced on every cone there was no room for mistakes. This part by far was the most fun to watch. All that I could think was how grateful I am that none of my jumper courses have ever been that complicated…how do they even remember which cones are next? Let alone actually getting the horse and carriage through without even tapping the cone. I would have to say that even more impressive than the single horses getting through the cones course was the two in hands getting through. I do have one question that remains unanswered. Are the single and double horses judged separately? Because it seems that there is no way that the two in hand could possibly turn as sharply and as quickly as the single horse could. Even so the competition gave me a feel of how a driving competition is held and now I can’t wait to try again….uh oh - I think I have the bug!

Monday, March 24, 2008

To say the least...I am Exhausted!!

My parents told me once that college is like practice for real life stress that will occur in years to come. Well…if that’s true, I got a few years worth of practice last week!! I know that this kind of activity may be normal for some of you out there but it certainly was an exciting few days for me. Let me share just how a typical college student might spend a mid term…..

Saturday (Day 1) – We have a horse show scheduled at Del Val today. It is run by the first year Horse Show Management class, not an Intercollegiate Horse Show so it is pretty small and almost all of the riders are from the Del Val team. We finish the show around 2:00 and I meet my mom in my room to get dressed for the Spring Formal. Most of the other girls are already on their way to the hotel where they will finish dressing after their hair appointments. But I am counting on my mom to do my hair quickly, then I will put on my dress and high tail it over to the dance on my trusty red 1994 F150. By 11:00 PM I turn in for the night because I know that I have to be up by 4:00AM to meet the team and coaches to travel to the show. But it is definitely worth the effort - the dance was a blast!

Sunday (Day 2)After traveling to Worchester Stables in Warminster PA for the show we begin almost 2 hours late so we all know that it will be a very long day. The only person who was more tired than those of us that were at the formal was my Coach Corey, who is now 7 ½ months pregnant. The show goes longer than any show that I have attended before and unfortunately we don't even win. We head home and when we arrive back at school it is close to 9:00PM. Now to get to that homework……

Monday (Day 3)Today is an exciting day for me because it we hold elections for team officers. We have over 100 members on our equestrian team, so election day is always a crowded meeting. I am elected Captain for next year and the co – captain position is very closely run between 3 of my good friends. In the end Kaitlyn Y. will be my co-captain and I know that 2008-2009 will be a great season. Oh…and I did manage to turn in my English paper on time!

(Day 4-7) Classes, classes, classes….and a midterm exam on Wednesday….

Saturday (Day 8) Today is a horse show prep day. That means as co-captain I need to help the team captain with the horse show set up – painting jumps and setting courses. When we finish, I head back to my room to get ready for a wedding that I am attending. I promised my boyfriend that I wouldn't smell like horses haha silly boy. So once again I do the quick change and hair-do to get out the door and to the ceremony on time – once again driving my F150 in heels! I turn in early once again. The time changes so I lose an hour and have to wake up at 3:00 AM standard time for our horse show.

Sunday (Day 9) - I make it to the show on time and we start our IHSA show at 8:30 on the dot. It looks like we are definitely going to win this show since we win most of the Open and Intermediate classes. But in the end, it comes down to the last Walk/Trot class to decide the winner- and it’s just not our day….University of Delaware takes the show. My mom consoles Kaitlyn and I with a dinner out to celebrate my birthday- I turn 20 on Tuesday- I am no longer a teenager!

So a very busy week ends and another begins…I think I can survive all this…if I can just get some sleep…sweet dreams...zzzzzzzz.

Monday, February 18, 2008

No, I will never do that again...

Finally the time is here for us to host a Western show. Since there are three reining divisions in Western, the shows are run continuously so that riders can get enough points. Otherwise the show would take two days to complete. The same riders may ride but new horses are drawn and a new judge is brought in for the second show. These shows tend to run pretty smoothly and quickly with no major quarrels, but leave it to me to mess it up! I typically do not ride Western on a regular basis, nor have I had very many Western horsemanship lessons so usually I ride in these shows for fun rather than as a competition, even though everybody knows it’s more fun to win! So when I drew the horse that was tending to be on the excited side I just tried my best to have fun and keep the horse from passing every other western pleasure horse in the ring more than twice. Apparently the judge liked what he saw because after we lined up he called my name for first! Now I didn't really believe it and as you can imagine I was quite excited but there was something strange about the way they called my seemed as though they didn't know what my number was. But I didn't really think much of it, I just collected my ribbon and headed up into the office where I had been working before my ride. Well by the time I got there, there was quite a commotion! It turns out I had the wrong back number on! How did I manage that you ask? Well easier than you might think...last year one of my teammates had forgotten her number so I let her write her number on the back of mine so she could still show. Well I guess I needed to put a big X through it because I asked a friend to pin my number on and did not think about the 50-50 chance that they would pick the wrong number! After much debate and a quick call to the national steward (Yes they called the NATIONAL Steward!!!) I was disqualified from the class because my number did not match my name. Thank goodness I wasn't a point rider otherwise I would have felt terribly bad for my mistake! So they called everyone back from my class and moved every rider up one ribbon and I was bumped out. Yes, I have to say that it wasn't fun to give up my blue ribbon but I knew that if I did it once I could do it again. So my word of advice to you is...make sure that you have a friend do a quick once over on you before you go into the show ring just in case you "pull a Sara" and wear the wrong number!!
Keep riding and keep reading!! Thanks! Talk to you soon.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Today we are on our way to one of the largest shows of the regular season hosted at Briarwood. Once we arrived we were informed that one of the most important people in IHSA was going to be at the show. Yes that's right Bob Cacchione! For those of you who don't recognize the name, without Bob Cacchione there would be no IHSA, he founded the association in 1967 with just two competing colleges. During the season Mr. Cacchione travels around the country to support all of the different regions and today he will be spending the day with us! So pressure is on to prove that we have what it takes to get to nationals!!

It was a long day and the competition was stiff but it ended with a little twist. At every horse show a high point rider award is given to the rider with the most points. Usually either one rider stands far above the others or there are two that "flip" for the title of high point rider. Today is a little different though, three of OUR riders have tied for the award. On a typical day they may flip a coin but not today, Bob Cacchione decided that a ride off between three DVC riders would be appropriate. Each rider rode a pattern one at a time. They were judged on accuracy and style. This pattern challenged their effectiveness along with their equitation. It was a tight competition but one rose above the rest and was awarded the title.

It was an extremely successful day, we ended up winning for the day which keeps us in the lead. Congratulations to our high points riders!!!