Manchester Riders Gallop Home with Championship Trophy
At 6 am on Saturday, September 16, the Manchester Equestrian Team riders hit the ground running through a dense fog.
Not only do these riders have practices during the week, but show days are grueling! Showing a horse is so much more than just pulling him out of a stall and hopping on. For most, the preparation began the night before – cleaning tack, packing clothes, packing riding equipment, bathing the horse, then loading and trailering everything to the fairgrounds.
In the morning, riders are busy feeding, cleaning out the stalls, banding, braiding, sometimes giving another bath, lunging (exercising on a long lead to work off some extra energy), warm-up riding, and on-the-ground pattern practicing. By 7:30 am, the team is expected to be ready for a few rounds of practicing showmanship patterns with one of the coaches. At 8 am, the National Anthem is sung and the teams are called into the arena. For the next nine hours, minus a half-hour lunch break, many of our team members are literally running from their horse stall, to trailers and into event arenas, changing their own apparel and the horse’s equipment.
This was it, our third and last regular season meet. So far, our team had been undefeated, but today we found ourselves down three of our 9 riders; everyone is being held to even higher expectations. Our two previous wins have us looking like a team that will advance to Regionals, but that is not our only goal. We want to be the undefeated District 10, Division “B” Champs.
The weather is perfect: foggy, but with a penetrating, warm sun quickly drying up the wet grass and bleachers. Manchester, once again, proves that each team member is an integral part of this endeavor by consistently being “Dutch Strong, All Day Long.” Points are totaled up every few classes and Manchester finds itself up by 3 points at lunchtime. The final Division “B” scores for Meet #3 are: Manchester 200, North West 158, Tecumseh 119, and Grass Lake 96. Our high point rider was senior, Alex Clark and second place was senior, Claudia Walz. Congratulations to all of our team members. We couldn’t have become undefeated without all the concentrated effort. Megan Reppert and Julia Johnson have been a solid team in our two-man relay team. Each of these young ladies have also contributed in additional events. Bailey and Tyler Elliott are our team’s anchor speed riders, and will certainly have our entire District cheering them on at Regionals.
Next Meet: Regionals, September 30 – October 1, Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason, beginning at 8 am each day. Let’s go Dutch!