Equestrian wins home opener

The SDSU equestrian team rode to victory in their home opener against Minnesota Crookston on Saturday, outscoring UMC 10-5.

Entering Saturday the Jackrabbits had won one of three competitions on the road this fall. Coming on the heels of those battles, the home meet gave the Jacks a chance to refocus and explore some of their depth.  

“It’s a great way to start the year,” said head coach Megan Rossiter. “It’s a good confidence boost to the team, but really for us there were great performances, great rides, so we were really looking for quality rides and not so focused on points for this meet.”

To begin the day, the Jacks split the equitation over flat competition with UMC. One of the victories for SDSU came via September’s United Equestrian Conference equitation over fences rider of the month Jessica Andronowitz who Rossiter said she moved over to the flat to open up opportunities for another rider in over fences.

The move worked out for the Jacks as they went on to take three of four points in equitation over fences.

 “Definitely in the hunt seat [we’ve improved], both flat and fences, so we’re a lot stronger in both events I feel,” Rossiter said. “We do have a new hunt seat coach, Ellie Wilkins. She’s done a really great job getting the athletes prepared, really bringing out the best in the things we already had.”

One rider Rossiter praised after the meet was freshman Taylor Duerr who earned MOP in the over fences competition.

“We did put some less experienced riders into this meet which was good to get them in the pen and not be real worried about it coming down to the wire point-wise, so we were thinking that we’d have a strong meet against Crookston,” Rossiter said.

When the time came for the reigning competition, SDSU looked to have already secured the meet, holding an 8-4 win advantage which Rossiter said she was happy with. With her focus not being on points, Rossiter had already taken the opportunity to add 2013 All-American Raivenne Scott to the list of riders getting the day off and explore some of her rich depth in the event.

“We do have some really great depth in the team this year and it’s hard because we’re limited, a lot of times we’re limited to five riders per event and in the reigning,” Rossiter said. “[We have,] easy, seven great riders right off the bat with good experience that I can throw in.”

Nicole Harvey would secure the victory, tying UMC’s Amanda Guimont at 66. Mariah Wright then took MOP honors with her 70.5 score and helped lead the Jacks to a pair of reigning victories, guiding SDSU to a 10-5 overall victory.

Looking ahead, the fall season will carry the Jackrabbits into late November and includes one more weekend at home as they will host New Mexico State University and Southern Methodist University on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

 “This fall I feel like we have a strong team,” Rossiter said. “We can beat them [NMSU and SMU]. We’re going to have to ride tough, but we can beat them. That would definitely be my goal. Obviously the goal is to win everything possible, but again you just have to focus on fundamentals, getting them ready and let the points fall where they will.”

But before they can return home for those challenges, the Jacks travel to Texas A&M University to face the Aggies on Oct. 25.