Equestrian Team Takes a Leap
November 3, 2017
This season the Palos Verdes High school girls’ equestrian team will compete in eight shows over four weekends taking place at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano where they compete against other schools. The team competes in the Orange County Interscholastic Equestrian League. There are are 18 members on the team this season.
“I think the upperclassmen are doing a great job getting them incorporated into the team,” said Erin Melville, senior and team captain.
There are quite a few freshmen, who are new to the team. They each compete in different events and are proving their spot on the team.
“It’s pretty fun and it’s really cool how we all support one another through the competition. They are all so nice and care about one another,” freshman Lauren Hammond, Gymkhana rider.
The riders compete individually, but their points for each event are counted towards the overall points for PVHS. Each rider will compete in their most comfortable style to win the points for the school.
There are two styles of riding: Western and English. In Western riding, the rider uses one hand to hold the reins for controlling the horse, and they use a larger heavier saddle. In English riding, they use two hands to hold the reins to control the horse with a smaller and lighter saddle. Both styles use their weight and legs to control the horses.
In the Western category, the riders compete in a variety of competitions, Western pleasure, Western dressage, and gymkhana. In the English category, they have hunter, jumper and dressage. Western pleasure and hunter, jumpers are judged on how the rider and horse move together along with how well the horse handles the obstacles and jumps. Both Western and English dressage are judged on the control and flexibility that the horse and rider have on a series of commands.
In Gymkhana the rider and horse are timed on how fast they go in a certain pattern around different obstacles like barrels and poles. There are also timed and different height jumping courses.
The two styles have a very different look and energy. PVHS has about equal representation in each style. The riders have received many awards in their recent shows, and they dominated both Saturday and Sunday shows. All of the riders contributed to the points helping PVHS.
“PV was reserve champion of freshmen hunters and Champion of the western division,” said Melville, varsity hunter.
The PVHS equestrian came out with a great start to their season. They are have formed a powerful bond and team chemistry, which will help them in the future.