The Lake Erie College Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Hunt Seat team has broken a 20-year drought by winning the IHSA Zone 6/Region 1 Regional Championship Title! The team upended Findlay’s 20 year winning streak of the title on Saturday, February 29, 2020. The Storm Riders rode well all season and after this weekend’s monumental win, move on to the Zone 6 Championships to be held in Albion, MI on April 4-5, 2020. The Champion and Reserve Champion teams in this competition advance to the National Finals being held in Syracuse, New York on April 30-May 3, 2020.
“Lake Erie College and the School of Equine Studies are incredibly proud of the accomplishments of this championship team,” says Dr. Pam Hess, Dean of the School of Equine Studies. “Our students’ hard work in the barns and in the saddle has resulted in a team with improved riding skills and a strategy to do their very best. From our Open Hunter Seat Equitation Over Fences riders to our Introductory Hunter Seat Equitation riders, each and every member contributes to the success of the team.”
This year’s team includes several freshman and sophomore riders, making them a young team poised to build on this season’s big wins. Head coach Nancy Kohler-Cunningham credits strategy, hard work, dedication, and motivation as what it took to succeed.
“I think the most obvious and significant thing about this win is that we upset a team that has been the regional champions 20 years in a row,” says Coach Kohler. “And ours is a relatively young team and many of our top competitors were freshmen, which is unusual.”
More challenges await the Storm Riders. The Regional Championships for qualifying individual competitors takes place at the Lake Erie College George M. Humphrey Equestrian Center on Saturday, March 7. Then the team and the individual riders head to the Zone Championships for the next leg of competition.
Dr. Hess is very pleased with the team. “I am so proud of our students who not only learn to ride well and successfully compete in the equestrian world, but they learn important career-building experiences in group teamwork, responsibility, hard work, performance under stress, and ethically responsible horsemanship.”