Sara Swanson

Manchester Equestrians weather the storm to win first meet

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Alivia Johnson - Huntseat Bareback. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Alivia Johnson – Huntseat Bareback. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Manchester High School Equestrian Team prevailed over torrential rains and their opponents to win the Division B, District 10 horse riding meet on Saturday, August 27th at the Lenawee County Fairgrounds in Adrian. In total, the meet included 17 area high schools from Washtenaw, Jackson, and Lenawee counties which make up District 10.

As defined by the Michigan Interscholastic Horsemanship Association (MIHA), nearly 100 high school riders and horses are included District 10. “Manchester competes against Tecumseh, Milan, Onsted, and Grass Lake High Schools as part of Division B. Riders compete in a variety of different events, including showmanship, equitation, jumping, trail, reining, and speed events. The competition generally takes 8 to 10 hours, but this Saturday was different. Delays from thunderstorms prolonged the meet to nearly 12 hours. Not only that, the heavy rains turned the riding arenas into a mixture of slippery mud and puddles,” stated Manchester Equestrian Team coach, Donna Clark.

The rain came about midway through the meet, when Manchester and Tecumseh had pulled well ahead of the other teams and were nearly tied for the lead. But after the delay, Manchester splashed their way to victory by posting good scores in jumping, trail, reining, and speed. The final scores were: Manchester 203; Tecumseh 153; Milan 83; Onsted 79; Grass Lake 74.

“I’m really proud of our kids”, said Clark. “They performed really well in these tough weather conditions. Riding in rain and mud is really difficult, and the competition was tough, too. We are fortunate to have a really well balanced team this year with individual riders that complement one another. All members of this team contribute something. We can do pretty well in every event from showmanship to speed riding. These are unselfish, team-oriented riders and their goal is to win a District Championship and then move on to compete for Regional and State Championships. ”

Their high point rider for the meet was one of their team captains and senior member of the team, Allison Reppert. Other members of the team include: senior Alivia Johnson; juniors Alexander Clark , Claudia Walz, and Tyler Elliott; sophomore Julia Johnson; and freshmen Megan Reppert and Bailey Elliott. “I was especially pleased with the effort this week by Megan Report,” stated Clark, “Her horse went lame just a week before the meet. She was determined to compete, so one of our assistant coaches helped her find a substitute horse with only 4 days left to practice before the meet. In spite of her problem, she scored some points for us in the meet on her substitute horse.”

The team practices three evenings a week and many of the members ride at other shows on weekends to help keep them and their horses in good enough condition to compete at this level. Many of the riders are putting in extra hours of practice learning new skills in case they are needed later in the season to fill in for another rider or injured horse.

The team’s next meet is Sunday, September 11th at the Lenawee County Fairgrounds beginning with Showmanship at 8am. This event is free to the public. Clark extended an invitation, “If you enjoy horse competitions, want to see some of the best local high school riders, or would like to support your team, feel free to attend.”

Alex Clark - Reining

Alex Clark – Reining. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Allison Reppert – Huntseat Bareback. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Bailey Elliot – Cloverleaf. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Claudia Walz - Huntseat Bareback

Claudia Walz – Huntseat Bareback. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Julia Johnson – Saddleseat Pattern. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Megan Reppert- Saddleseat Pattern. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

Tyler Elliot – Stake Race. Photo courtesy of Donna Clark.

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