By BRANDY SIMPSON
The University of Mary Washington equestrian team placed third in the Christopher Newport University (CNU) riding show on Saturday, Nov. 5. Three Mary Washington riders took first place finishes at the show. Junior Haley Cook placed first in the intermediate over fences class, sophomore Elicia Franchini snagged a first place finish in the walk trot class, and senior Marina Frano rounded out the first place finishes with a great ride in the novice on the flat class.
This past weekend’s show was a great boost for the team, who was looking to improve upon the fourth place finish in the Goucher College show on Oct. 30. Freshman Ali Duchemin said that there has certainly been improvement in recent weeks.
“Everyone on the team rode their best this past weekend and we’re getting better with each show,” Duchemin said.
Senior Marina Frano sees the Christopher Newport show as the start of turnaround for the Eagles season.
“I feel really good about our team’s performance this past show,” Frano said. “We had a bit of a slow start at the beginning of the season, but we are definitely on a comeback. Everyone rode great and put forth their best effort. I am proud of all the girls and I know we will continue doing well in the coming shows.”
Although the Mary Washington riding squad had a strong showing at CNU, the riders are not satisfied as they continue to look at areas where they can improve.
“There is always room for improvement,” Franchini said, “and the only way to do that is work hard in practice and concentrate in the competitions.”
Frano shared her teammate’s sentiments.
“Everyone always rides to the best of their ability,” Frano said. “As long as we all maintain our focus and keep practicing as hard as we have, I know that we will do great in the next show.”
UMW will look to capture a first place finish at the Towson University show on Nov. 19, and Frano is confident in the Eagles’ ability to win the event.
“I feel great going into the Towson show,” Frano said. “It is the first time Towson is hosting a horse show, so I am very excited for us to ride at a new facility. I know we will all work hard to take the region back.”
Like Frano, Duchemin feels that the Towson University show will be the strongest competition for the team to date, as the confidence level runs high among riders.
“We’re three shows deep this semester and I feel like we have a better grasp of what to expect from the other schools at the Towson show,” Duchemin said. “Before, we were still learning all of the new riders’ strengths and weaknesses from our school and competing schools, but now we know what we need to do to put UMW back on top.”