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Historic Collegiate Cup Tie at 2013 IHSA National Championships

RELEASE: May 6, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: LA Pomeroy

(l-r) St Lawrence Univ, Skidmore College, and Stanford Univ (LA Pomeroy)
(l-r) St Lawrence Univ, Skidmore College, and Stanford Univ (LA Pomeroy)
Harrsiburg, PA
- "Sharing is better than losing to her," joked Mary Drueding, coach of defending Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Collegiate Cup team, St. Lawrence University, about good friend and even better rival, coach Cindy Ford, whose Skidmore College team turned up the heat in the homestretch like true Thoroughbreds on the first Saturday in May and brought the 2013 Collegiate Cup at the 40th annual IHSA National Championships at the Farm Expo Equine Center in Harrisburg, PA, to a dead heat. 

Each with 22 points overall, St. Lawrence and Skidmore -- high point and reserve respectively in last year's Collegiate Cup -- will share the 2013 honors, marking only the third time in IHSA history that two teams have shared the Collegiate Cup high point team title.  In 1980, Southern Seminary College tied with SUNY Stony Brook, and in 1989, it was shared by Colby-Sawyer College and Pennsylvania State University. 

During a good-natured 'wrestling match' while accepting the silver trophy, it was clear each coach holds the other in fond regard. "I admire Cindy's work ethic and it's an honor to share this with her," said coach Drueding. "We're friends and competitors," added coach Ford.  "The respect is reciprocal."

"At mid-year," mused Drueding, "we were behind in the standings.  As the defending team, that made me pause and wonder, could we make it back or were we one-hit wonders?  Although, we've always been just a little bit better in the spring than fall."  Indeed, St. Lawrence riders began blooming as soon as Collegiate Cup team finals began Thursday, May 2, with wins in Novice Hunter Seat Equitation by Katherine Figueroa, with Skidmore's Jessica Stoukides in reserve, and Intermediate Hunter Seat Equitation by Alyssa Bokor, again with Skidmore (Emory Wonham) in reserve.  "We had a strong start," coach Drueding said.

Friday team classes belonged to Stanford University and coach Vanessa Bartsch.  In back-to-back equitation performances that left Stanford not to be underestimated, Eliza Richartz won Walk/Trot and Victoria Greenen won Walk/Trot/Canter, putting the West Coast team en route to the 20 points overall that earned them the 2013 Collegiate Cup reserve title.  When Friday turned into Saturday, Skidmore's Flavia D'Urso won Open Equitation Over Fences and delivered the seven points needed to bring Skidmore neck-and-neck with St. Lawrence. 

"We just worked hard," said now seven-time Collegiate Cup-winning coach Ford.  "You never get tired of winning."

The Reich Stuff

And if you're Cori Reich, you never get tired of trying.  Not when the goal is nothing short of the USEF/Cacchione Cup.  Reich, who qualified last year but did not finish in the ribbons, spent senior year at Centenary College redoubling her efforts under coaches Michael Dowling and Heather Clark, and drawing upon her experiences growing up on her family's Rolling Coach Stables in Ivyland, PA, building a seat on the kind of horses whose sale prices reflected their problematic training issues.

"We're not wealthy.  We got the 'difficult' horses because those were the ones we could afford," said Lori and George Reich, who came to Harrisburg to support their daughter but never dared to hope it would be while holding the Cacchione Cup trophy.  "Cori started riding when she was six years old.  Every horse she's ever owned has been forward and challenging.   She's worked for her horses.  Now she's going off to even bigger things." 

In front of hunter seat judges Anne and Bobby Braswell, Reichert earned 84.25 points over fences on "experienced equitation horse" Parker, and a 90 on the flat with "fantastic draw," King, for a decisive final total of 174.25 points.  The reserve champion, with 169 points overall, was Skidmore's Collegiate Cup game changer, Flavia D'Urso.

"This was the one show," said the new USEF/Cacchione Cup champion, who began weeping as D'Urso left the awards line-up to accept the reserve tricolor, "where I had no idea how thin gs would go.  I just happened to draw a good horse in the last phase.  Parker is a Centenary horse, and one that I really wanted if I were lucky enough because I'm a tall rider and he's a big horse, so we match well.  For the flat, I drew Centenary's King and he was as fantastic as his draw description.

"I was less worried about the horse draw than when I heard there would be ten jumps in the ride-off.  That was scary," said Reich, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies with a concentration in training and teaching.  "I came to Harrisburg as an individual rider just for the Cacchione Cup.  After riding in it last year, I spent this season determined to be better prepared.  Heather and Michael have been great.  I was too aggressive last time, so I smoothed out my riding."

D'Urso also came ready to ride:  "I've been with coach Ford for a long time, so I felt consistent and prepared.  I was very lucky to get Centenary's Sean, who was super soft and forward, as my first round draw. I was ready to put my best foot forward and, at the end of the day, it's up to the judges."  The Skidmore senior, originally from Chester, NJ, hopes to take her degree in psychology and art to New York City and "see what happens" on life's course ahead.

1996 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Silver medalist Peter Leone, on hand to present his latest book, Peter Leone's Show Jumping Clinic, co-authored with Kimberly Jaussi, as an award among USEF/Cacchione Cup finalists,  was impressed with the caliber of riders:  "I can see future assistants and employees for Lionshare Farm," he quipped.  "I'd like to have any of them working with me."  He'll have his chance soon, having offered Reich a free week of one-on-one training with him in Greenwich, CT, after finals wrap up at Centenary.

"I remember being that age, and how winning a championship like this puts you on Cloud Nine," said Leone.  Quoting George Morris, former US chef d'equipe and author of the forward in Leone's book, he added, "Through riding, you learn a lot about life.  An opportunity like this championship offers such a boost of confidence and energy for equestrian dreams, and life in general."

"We're very excited for Cori," agreed Centenary coaches Clark and Dowling.  "Her goal this year was the Cacchione Cup.  She did tons of no-stirrup work and rode daily.  Her nemesis is that she rides a 'forward' horse really well into a jump, and Parker was a 'leg' horse and not necessarily the easiest ride."

But neither is the path to success.  Reich concluded, "I want to be a show jumper.  I've always looked up to (former Cacchione Cup champion) Beezie Madden.  She's a great role model, for riders and for girls."

Some day the same may well be said about this year's IHSA National Champions.  For complete individual and team hunter seat results please see www.IHSAinc.com.

This article originally appeared at https://www.facebook.com/notes/intercollegiate-horse-show-association/historic-collegiate-cup-tie-at-2013-ihsa-national-championships/10151585873081001

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