This past Sunday, the post season for IHSA (the hunter/jumper intercollegiate riding association that I don't compete in, but that the equestrian program at Stanford is mainly focused on) kicked off with Regionals held right at home at Stanford. What is Regionals, you might ask? Well, it turns out that IHSA has a rather complicated formula for selecting riders for nationals. Here's my inexpert explanation:
Regionals is an individual-only competition (the highest scoring team from regular season goes straight to Zones) comprised just of the riders who have garnered a qualifying number of points from each region--in our case, California. It is a first of two post-season hurdles required for an individual to qualify for Nationals: first you must either come in 1st or 2nd at Regionals, then 1st or 2nd at Zones (which in our case is comprised of schools from all over the West and as far east as Nebraska!!), and then finally have a ticket to the national finals.
At Stanford, we had a rider in every class, and every single rider qualified for Zones except one (and even then, he rode beautifully and won a very hard-fought 3rd!). Yay Stanford Equestrian! These individuals will now join the team at the Zone finals, which will also be held at Stanford in early April.
Instead of a drawn-out blow by blow, here are some of the photos that I took using my coach's camera, as I'd forgotten mine at home (which explains why these have a slightly different color cast and look than what I normally shoot - silly Nikons!):
(Nikki rides Lando on the flat for an educational clinic that took place after the show)
(Team President Rachel Kolb rides Dreamer in the clinic)
(Sophomore Laura Bernard lopes to victory in Western Intermediate!)
(Sarah and Luke looking very tidy in the clinic)
(Team Co-President Justine riding Lando to second over fences)
(Dreamer looking very fancy with Alex!)
(Rachel gives a big smile heading into her flat class, which she won handily)
(Macey and Sterling, the best little pony in the world)
We're in the home stretch preparing for the last dressage show of the year, which will be a home show at Stanford this coming weekend. I'm feeling a little nervous, a little nostalgic, and very excited!