GREENVILLE — The Greenville High School Equestrian team has earned a chance to compete at the Michigan Interscholastic Horse Association’s Regional meet Saturday and Sunday in Midland.
The 2012 team worked hard all summer and won the Division-A Reserve Championship of the District 8 regular season meets in Big Rapids.
Equestrian meets are scored based on the horse and rider combination and rely on the judge’s opinion or the clock to score points for their team.
This year’s team started strong and after the first two meets was in second place behind Big Rapids and in front of Morley-Stanwood. At the third meet, the team continued to do well and ended the regular season as the reserve champions.
“Big Rapids is always strong, but our kids just did a super job at all three meets and have earned the right to move on,” said coach Duane Putnam.
The team’s high point riders are senior Britney Vanderkodde, junior Jennifer Wisinski and senior Kaylee Case.
Case and Vanderkodde both contribute to the team in the rail, jumping and showmanship, while Wisinski specializes in pleasure classes as well as reining and saddle seat patterns. Rachel Rodenhouse, a sophomore, contributes to the team scoring in showmanship, hunt seat, and saddle seat classes.
Each meet ends with the timed events where Lindsay VanSyckle, Kodde Devries, and Ella Prawdzik are the team’s high point speed riders. Sophomores Katherine Kilts, Heidi Terry and freshman Kayla Bartosiewicz earn points in a variety of events including showmanship, western, hunt seat, trail, and speed.
Equestrian members are expected to be at weekly practices, compete at local shows, practice daily on their own and are encouraged to seek professional training. It is a big commitment to be part of the team and usually involves the whole family since horses have to be hauled to practices and meets.
You may have been to a Greenville football game where you see members of the equestrian team cleaning up the stadium following each game. This work is their way of raising funds for registration fees and team jackets.
“The regional meet is very expensive, so the opportunity to raise the funds by cleaning up the stands really helps defray some of the cost of another weekend of showing,” explained Putnam.
The team would like to thank the Greenville administration for their support.
“The kids love it when they see principal, Mr. Wright, watching them from the rail,” coach Barb Altizer said. “Many folks don’t even know we have an equestrian team so to have Mr. Wright and Superintendent Haines make the trip to Big Rapids to show their support is very appreciated. The kids work hard to keep their horses in shape and to improve their horsemanship skills and are thrilled to be representing Greenville at regionals this year.”
The team will have to forego their yearly participation in the school’s homecoming parade Friday, as they will be on their way to Midland for competition. For anyone wishing to see the meet, it will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Midland Fairgrounds.