Lake Erie College student wins prestigious national equestrian award

A Lake Erie College School of Equine Studies student is bringing the Cacchione Cup back to Painesville after nearly three decades.

Junior Delani Franklin is the first Lake Erie College student to win the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association award since Kim (Peters) Barone in 1995.

The country's best collegiate hunt seat riders competed for two days on the flat and over fences at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina at the 2024 Intercollegiate Horse Show Competition National Championships. The hunt seat rider with the best rides and highest points earns the coveted Cacchione Cup.

Named for Mario "Marty" Cacchione, father of IHSA Founder and Executive Director Bob Cacchione, the Cacchione Cup is awarded to the Open Hunt Seat rider who wins the national competition. Past winners include Beezie Patton, Peter Wylde, Kim Barone, and other well-known professional riders.

"I never imagined I'd get to this point in my riding," says Delani in a post-win interview. "Just being in the callback today, I was stoked; I didn't have the words... I was like, 'I made it this far. That's awesome." And it gave me a little bit more confidence to be like, 'Hey, you can hold your ground. Just push a little harder, ride a little more confidently, and look where it gets you.'"

IHSA Hunt Seat coach Sarah Dwyer was awarded the Cacchione Coach’s plaque, which recognizes the dedication and effort put forth into the development of such a stellar young rider. Dwyer said of Franklin’s win, “I knew I had a rider who was capable, and I have a great assistant coach who helped us get here (LEC Graduate Assistant Anna Pallante). I knew she could do it, but it was still kind of crazy to see it happen.”

Delani isn't the only one trotting back to campus with honors. Riders in Lake Erie's three equestrian teams posted a National Championship. Other winners are listed below.

The Intercollegiate Horse Show Competition occurred at the Tyron Internation Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina, May 3-5.

IDA - Intercollegiate Dressage Association Team, Coach Melissa Borror

Kaylee Horton - NATIONAL CHAMPION Dressage Seat Equitation Lower Level

Brianna Perkins - RESERVE NATIONAL CHAMPION Dressage Seat Equitation First Level

Delani Franklin - Ninth Place First Level Individual Test

Alley Miller - Ninth Place Intro Level Individual Test

IHSA - Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Western Team, Coach Chelsea Nau

Hannah Belich - NATIONAL CHAMPION AQHA Individual Open Horsemanship