Equestrian Team to Host First Competition

Posted on September 16th, 2010 by

Gustavus sophomore Paige Yahnke maneuvers a horse over a fence at a recent competition.

The Gustavus Adolphus College Equestrian Team will host its first ever competition on Sept. 25-26 at Charles Yahnke Farms in Le Sueur, Minn.

The two-day competition will feature approximately 150 individual riders from 11 different schools from around the region, including Carleton, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, North Dakota State University, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and the University of Minnesota-Crookston.

The Gustavus Equestrian Team is a club sport at Gustavus that has been active for the last five years. After years of inactivity, the club was revived by recent graduate Abby Travis ’10 and now has around 20 members. The team’s current captain is senior Alexandra Grandelis, who is assisted by Show Chairs Sara Fogelberg and Paige Yahnke.

It is Yahnke’s parents – Charles and Vicky – who are opening up their facility in Le Sueur and providing six of the 20 horses that will allow the club to host a competition for the first time.

Grandelis, who has been instrumental in the team’s development and success, said that hosting a competition is a big opportunity for the club.

“The team is really excited to be able to host a competition,” she said. “What many people don’t know is that a lot of students decide to attend a college because of its equestrian team. If we can continue to grow the team, it will continue to be a recruiting tool for the college.”

Members of the 2009 Gustavus Equestrian Team.

While the team receives funding from the Student Senate, members participate in fundraisers and spend some of their own money in order to practice and travel to competitions.

“Half the girls on the team go to Paige’s facility once or twice a week where a trainer gives them lessons,” Fogelberg said. “The other half of the team trains at Pegasus Circle Farm in Mankato with Kt Harrington, who has been working with the team since its revival in 2006.”

The team competes within the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), which consists of 376 teams from around the country. While the IHSA supports two different styles of riding, the Gustavus team competes solely in Hunt Seat competitions, which is a style of riding that positions the rider for optimum results over a course of fences. Competitions usually consist of six to 12 fences, which reach a maximum of three feet in height.

The team will typically compete in three events each semester where individuals will try to earn points to qualify for the regional, zone, and national competitions which are held in the spring. This semester they plan to compete at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on Oct. 9-10 and at the University of Minnesota, Crookston on Nov. 6-7.

Last year, the Gustavus team finished ninth in the region out of 19 highly competitive teams. Gustavus is the highest ranked private school in the region, having finished ahead of institutions such as Carleton and Bethany Lutheran, but behind public universities where Equestrian is a varsity sport supported by large equine programs.

The event the team is hosting on Sept. 25-26 at Yahnke’s facility is open to spectators at no cost.

“This would be a great opportunity for members of the Gustavus community to learn about a sport that they might not know much about,” Grandelis said.

For more information about the Gustavus Equestrian Team, contact Grandelis at agrandel@gustavus.edu.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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