Monday, January 29, 2007

Making the IHSA Teams

Finally!! It was time for tryouts. This was the event that I had been looking forward to ever since school had started. Intercollegiate Horse Show Association breaks down the levels of riders into classes based on previous experience and past show record. Then each rider participates in a placement test, which can include both flatwork and over fences work. A unique feature about Del Val's IHSA's hunt seat team is that there are no cuts, so if you are interested in being on the team you will be allowed to join- no matter what your level. This makes our hunt seat team one of the largest teams in the nation with over 100 riders!

The day came quickly and it was my turn to ride. I can't lie...I was nervous! And not just a little nervous- I could feel those butterflies flying around in my stomach like never before. Now this was not the first time I had ridden with Coach Cory. Equine Studies students had a slight advantage over other majors because we had already had a few riding classes under her instruction. But that didn't matter- I still wanted to make a good impression. As I watched the other riders in the ring, I noticed that one horse that was obviously acting up. Well, of course, that was the horse that I was assigned to ride during my tryout! This didn't help my nerves, but that is what IHSA is all about-doing the best you can with the mount you draw. As soon as I was given a leg up, my nerves disappeared. Nothing comforts me like being on a horse. The placement ride seemed to go very well, with no real “exciting” moments. Usually, when I can't remember exact moments in the ride, its a good thing! :-)

After placement rides, the team captain and the coach decide where each rider will best succeed. There are flat classes from Beginner Walk, Trot to Advanced Walk, Trot, Canter and then three Over Fences classes, Novice 2'3 Intermediate 2'6 and Open 3'0. When we were told our placements I was excited to find out that I was assigned to the Intermediate class. Now as you can imagine I couldn't WAIT for the first show.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just the beginning of my college adventures

After the orientation week at the equestrian center the campus finally started to show some life. Once all of the other students moved in I became a lot more comfortable than I had been when campus was so quiet. Although all of the rooms around me were filling up my roommate still had not arrived. Finally I heard a knock on the door and it was her! She came with her parents and I couldn't believe how quickly my room became smaller as I guess I just got used to having a lot of space to myself. Despite this, I was happy as I knew I would enjoy the company. I wasn't really sure at first how we would get along but I wished for the best. My roommate's name is Kate she is an equine science major who hopes to attend graduate school to become a veterinarian after she graduates.

(A picture of Kate riding at a horse show is posted above.).

Even though she and I didn't hit it off right away, my boyfriend and I invited her and a couple of other people from our dorm to go to the 4-H show in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. I thought that this would be a good idea to get to know Kate and break the ice a little with the other students on my floor. Well I was right! I guess there is just something about livestock showing and fireworks that creates a good bond among friends ;)

Talk to you soon!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Freshman Orientation

Of course I was both excited and nervous about starting college. I knew being an hour away from home would create many differences in the schedule that I had gotten very used to in high school. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I have heard a lot of stories about what college is all about and I was excited to experience it for myself.

Before I came to school I was informed that all equine study majors would have to move into their dorm rooms a week earlier than the rest of the freshman class. I was hoping that my roommate was given the same news, that way I would be able to get to know the person I would be spending the majority of my time with. Unfortunately when I arrived on campus I found that there were only two other girls on my floor that had to move in early and that I would have my room to myself. When I arrived on campus that one thing that I couldn't get over was how empty the campus was. Later I found out it was because the only students here were freshman athletes and freshman equine students. The dorm that I live in had very little movement or life and this scared me because this would mean that I would have to force myself to be social. This was not the idea I had about college, I guess I always thought that social life was going to be the least of my worries.

The instructors must have anticipated the reserved attitudes from the students so the following week was planned out so that all of the students could get to know each other, meet the faculty and staff at the equestrian center, and learn the daily routine of the barn. Since no one's background was clearly known the instructors went over everything. They went over horse handling, including how to put a halter on, how to cross tie and yes even how to groom. Even though most of us knew the information that was being taught the instructors were able to keep our attention by adding tips and stories from past experiences.

Half way through the week I was thrilled to find out that there was a field trip planned for any student that was interested in attending. The school had presented us with an amazing opportunity to observe a lecture given by Jane Savoie at Devon showgrounds. Jane spoke on the topic of sports psychology. The majority of the lecture was about motivation and how to overcome nerves and fear. One thing that Jane Savoie is known for is her successful showing career in Dressage, and the most inspiring moment of her lecture was when she spoke about the emotions that she has every time she begins a Dressage test in competition. To really get us to understand these emotions the emotions that she feels going into a Dressage test she puts on a skit. Pretending the judge was right in front of her she spoke to her and approached her in a confident amusing way. She essentially told the judge that she was the best and that she could overcome her nerves and make fun of the situation. The lecture was very interesting and I think everyone that attended really got a lot out of it. If you ever get a chance to attend one of Jane's lecture I would definitely recommend you do so as I guarantee that you will have a good time.

I suppose that is enough for today, but be sure to check back because next week you get to meet my roommate and read about our adventures!!

2007-An Exciting New Year for an IHSA College Freshman

Hello, my name is Sara Gumbiner; I am a freshman at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA. I am an Equine Studies major and ride on both the Western and Hunt Seat IHSA teams for the school.

I started classes last fall and needless to say I have had a number of exciting experiences since August. Before I started college I rode and worked at a local stable under the instruction of owner Tracy Pehler. Riding and working made school work difficult to manage but was always well worth it in the end. Since I am an Equine Studies major I am fortunate enough to be able to combine both school work and my love for horses. Some of the things I am excited to share with you are meeting my college roommate, our class trip to Dressage at Devon, the professionals that I met, try outs and making the IHSA teams, horse shows, equine expos and even college exams. Feel free to send any questions or comments you may have. I will speak to you next week when I am back at school for my winter internship!