Horse Team Shines in Nationals

Horse Team Shines in Nationals
Students on the Intercollegiate Horse
Show Association team display their awards from the national equestrian competition in April.

At the Arabian Horse Center, group cooperation is on display daily with the award-winning Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team.

“Teamwork is important every day,” says Jennifer Earles, team advisor. “From taking care of the horses on a day-to-day basis to cleaning the stalls, students have to work together to make sure it all gets taken care of.”

Students guide much of that work for the approximately 50-person team. Captains organize the practices, and the riders all work together to help each other learn, explains Earles, noting that the students get much more out of the practice if they help each other. The effort pays off in the way practices are handled and in the shows.

“They work together so well that by the middle to the end of the year, it's like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows what needs to be done.”

In late April, seven Cal Poly Pomona riders qualified in individual competition for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships, hosted by Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Earles joined them for the trip back east, which proved successful. In the Western field, Krista Whitney earned a second-place award for Intermediate Western Horsemanship, Danielle DeMel took seventh for Advanced Western Horsemanship, and Catherine Pabst came in 14th among riders nationwide in the American Quarter Horse Association High Point Western Rider standings. Also representing Cal Poly Pomona, Hailey Quirk captured first place in Alumni Equitation on the Flat and second in Alumni Equitation over Fences, both in the hunter seat field.

The skills learned today for the horse show team will translate into the competitors' post-college lives, Earles says. “They learn communication and leadership, especially for the captains and officer positions,” she says. “These are skills they can use down the road.”

From computers to horses, cars to diplomacy, co-curricular activities at Cal Poly Pomona help students develop important qualities, such as leadership, discipline and self confidence. Most important, students learn to work successfully with a team. This is the conclusion of a series of articles that spotlights teamwork in action at Cal Poly Pomona.