The Wellesley College Equestrian Team Places Well at Competitions, Sends Rider to Nationals
On May 2, Emma Slade-Baxter '15 topped off the Wellesley Equestrian Team season with an appearance at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's national championship show. The 2012-2013 season was particularly successful for the Wellesley Equestrians, including an excellent team showing at the Mount Ida show in the fall. Several riders also had individual successes during the regular season, including Rae Oakley '16 (Reserve High Point at Mount Ida; High Point at Brandeis), Rachel Insoft '13 (High Point at Stonehill), and Sam Goldstein '16 (Reserve High Point at Stonehill).
In the postseason, Insoft, Giovi Mier ‘16, and Emma Slade-Baxter ‘15 each qualified for Regionals in their divisions (novice, walk-trot-canter, and open, respectively). Both Insoft and Slade-Baxter finished in the top two in their classes at Regionals, and thus advanced to Zones. At Zones, Slade-Baxter became Reserve Champion in her class, earning her a trip to the National competition.
Before Nationals, Slade-Baxter said, "I still can't believe it! It's always rewarding to see hard work pay off but this time it means so much more because I get to share the success with my teammates. To say that I'm excited to represent my team and Wellesley at Nationals is an understatement!"
The philosophy and sociology major put in the hard work to earn a berth at Nationals, but in competition she leaves nothing to chance. She made sure to pack her lucky belt—one she borrowed in a pinch from her twin brother once when she arrived at a major horse show and found she'd forgotten a belt. She proceeded to win the class and decided to make her brother's loan permanent!
Nationals is the highest level of intercollegiate competition, and Slade-Baxter is the first Wellesley team member to go to Nationals since 2004. At the competition, 400 equestrians selected from more than 360 IHSA member colleges ride randomly assigned horses and participate in a series of events, or classes, that test their abilities as riders. Slade-Baxter competed in Open Equitation on the Flat.
At Nationals, Slade-Baxter drew a horse named Obie, and according to Cleo Stoughton '11, former team captain and ongoing supporter, "had a good ride, didn't place in the top 10 but was honorably mentioned. We're all happy with her ride. She made Wellesley proud! And we'll be back next year!"
Slade-Baxter, who turns 20 on May 18, has been riding for 16 years. "I don't really know a reality where horses haven't been a major aspect of my daily life," she said. "In the saddle is where I get to think; some people go for a walk or run while I ride. I guess I ride to keep sane!"
The Wellesley Equestrian Team (WET) is a club sport open to all levels of rider (including novices) with more than 20 students participating this year. Team members take lessons at the Rising Star Equestrian Center in Medway, Mass., where they are coached by Alli Mitchell.
Wellesley's team competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), which organizes competitions for riders of all levels among more than 370 colleges and universities across the nation. Through the regular season, WET competes against regional schools such as Boston University, Boston College, and Tufts University. Each competing school hosts one show in the fall or spring.