Marked by strong individual performances in the final three shows, the Yale equestrian team closed a successful 2002-03 season with momentum that it hopes to ride into next year.

Anna Robertson ’04, Philippa Pavia ’05, Phoebe Heffron ’04, Liz Streibich ’04 and coach Margot Sanger-Katz ’02 represented Yale at the Zone 3 Region 1 competition at Good Shepherd farm in Yapank, N.Y., April 6. Pavia placed fifth in the Intermediate Fence Class by navigating a series of jumps, while Robertson finished second in the Novice Flat Class by walking her horse in a circle while responding to judging instructions, such as walk, trot, canter and halt. Sanger-Katz was victorious in the Alumni Fences Class.

Both Roberston and Sanger-Katz, by virtue of their finishes in the top two, qualified for Zones and a chance to compete for Nationals the following week.

“All the divisions were incredibly competitive and everyone practiced hard all week to be ready — everyone was right in there with the rest of the competition,” Heffron said.

Additionally, Yale sent riders to regionals to compete in classes that did not require prior qualification. Heffron and Pavia placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Flat Challenge Class, while Yale won the team challenge on the strength of Kei Yagasaki’s ’06 second-place finish in the Walk Trot class, Becca Krauss’ ’05 second-place finish in the Novice Fences class, and Kraus and Heffron’s second-place efforts on the written test.

On April 13th, Robertson and Sanger-Katz competed at the Zone Championships at Yarmouth Stables in West Grove, Pennsylvania, where Sanger-Katz placed fourth.

To conclude the season, Yale took six riders to the All-Ivy Invitational Show in Ithaca, N.Y., April 27, where Elizabeth Gerber ’06 was the Ivy Champion in the Walk Trot Canter Class.

“She’s rock solid and her riding is a major factor in how we’ve done as a team — we know that we can count on her for a significant number of points at each show,” Heffron said.

As the Bulldogs’ most consistent rider of the year — placing first or second in every show in which she has competed — Gerber is on track to accumulate enough points next year to qualify for regionals.

“I really think she is only going to get better and better,” Heffron said.

With only one graduating senior competitor, a young core that continues to improve, and a freshman leading the way, next season brings much excitement to the Yale Equestrian Team.

“I have high hopes for us next year,” Heffron said. “I definitely think that we will be a force.”