For the second consecutive year, the Yale equestrian team won the Fairfield Cup on Nov. 17.
The Elis finished their fifth and final show of the fall in New Canaan with 433 points out of a possible 510, 65 more than second place Sacred Heart University. The Bulldogs finish the fall season tied for sixth place out of 11 teams in their zone, a subdivision of the Northeast region of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).
The team competed in five different categories. Flat riding and fence riding contribute to the IHSA standings, while a written horsemanship test, an open question answered orally, and a question to the coaches were categories unique to the Fairfield Cup standings.
Becky Hild ’06 competed in flat riding, an event in which judges score each rider for the walk, trot and canter of the horse.
“I think we did fairly well, but I don’t think we have the same resources available to us as the other teams,” Hild said. “They actually get to practice more than once a week.”
While beginning riders practice at the Yale Polo and Equestrian Center, advanced riders train at the Riverside Edge, which is a private stable. Both groups practice once every week.
The Bulldogs won all three of the non-IHSA events, with Becca Krauss ’05 placing first in horsemanship, Liz Jordan ’06 placing first in the open question section, and coach Margot Sanger-Katz winning the coaches’ question competition.
For IHSA competitions, a rider in each class — novice, intermediate and open — is pointed, or selected, to have his results count for the team’s standings. The Bulldogs must pick the player who will count for each event before the competition, and recently the Elis have had trouble discerning who will have the best performance.
“Individually, there have been a lot of people doing well but we’ve had bad luck pointing well,” Krauss said. “We could have done better as a team had we been pointing different people.”
The team lost a lot of high-level riders to graduation and lower level riders are still filling in the gaps, Krauss said.
The equestrian team hopes for better luck in the spring, when there are fewer shows but more important regional and national competitions.
“Hopefully everyone will be riding well before the [spring] season starts,” Hild said.