By Alexandra Doucet
Photos by Kate Morrison
Each year, the American National Riding Commission holds its four phase championship for two divisions of riders. SCAD has sent eight riders to the championship for many years and the teams have always performed well under the intense pressure. This year, the novice team won overall champion while the national level team placed fifth overall. We spoke with three of the riders and one groom who attended the competition in New Jersey to see what they experienced.
Junior Tatum Tatreau competed in the national division riding Ditto. The first thing she mentioned was the difficulty of the ANRC this year; with every school bringing their ‘A’ game it was a battle to get into the top ten.
When asked about the ribbons the team brought home Tatum said, “I think all of our riders rode extremely well and, despite some slight mishaps and bad luck, we all kept our heads up and powered through.”
While Tatum’s mount was an ANRC rookie, she said that he did his best in each of the three riding phases. Reflecting on the toughest part of her weekend, Tatum said maintaining her mental strength is always the greatest challenge of showing. She is excited to see what happens next year when SCAD has the home-court advantage.
Meredith Denny was an ANRC rookie this year on the Novice team with Peia – who went last year with owner Molly McDougall. She and the rest of the novice team had to deal with spooky horses on their schooling day, something Meredith said she didn’t foresee. She then realized she would have some challenges to work through on her show days.
Despite this shaky start to the week, Meredith said she was ecstatic with how well Peia performed during their programmed ride. Meredith and Peia had a challenging turn in the derby portio but made their comeback in the medal phase. The pair placed fourth, helping the team win their championship title.
Meredith’s biggest takeaway, however, was not the ribbons. She said, “I learned a lot, not only about improving my riding, but learning how to keep your chin up and keep pushing through to the end even when it might not all be going as I had planned out in my head.”
Quinn Lowsky was the rider of the weekend for SCAD, helping the novice team to their championship title, as well as claiming the individual novice champion title for himself. Going into the competition, Quinn was excited about representing the school and working with his horse, Aspen, who was new to the collegiate world. Afterward, he said his biggest take away was seeing the test of endurance the show was for the horses. After traveling from Savannah to New Jersey, the horses had to perform in three phases and additional schooling to keep their brains and bodies fresh. Overall, Quinn said it was a fun experience and he was happy to go.
The team wouldn’t be anywhere without the grooms. Tess Mroczka, a sophomore attending her first ANRC as a groom, said the show was less challenging than she anticipated. She said, “I think it’s because we had amazing people who helped as grooms and we were each assigned a certain horse to generally look after and care for. In the mornings we would ‘claim’ our jobs. Either mucking, watering, and feeding. The groom for each horse would get them ready when it was time to show.” When asked what she learned, Tess said she was excited to get to watch the riding, as it gave her something to think about and work on personally. It also gave her a better understanding of how the ANRC differs from a regular horse show and therefore how to get the horses get ready. When asked for her finals thoughts, Tess said, “I enjoyed every moment of sleep I lost!”
2017’s ANRC Championships will be held mid-April at the SCAD Equestrian center. Mark your calendars now and come cheer on the Bees!