Riding For Your School
For 16 years, the Interschool Horse Show series has offered middle and high school riders an opportunity to ride in team equitation competitions representing their schools. The idea for the series started when founder Devereaux Raskauskas’ daughter Jenn wanted to use riding as a way to fulfill her high school physical education credits at Connolly School of the Holy Child. The school agreed to accept equestrian as a sport and soon a club with 25 members was formed. “The athletic director asked what was next and I said ‘I guess a show,’” explained Devereaux.
The first show was held in May 1995 at the Potomac Horse Center with the help of Renee Gingras, now Renee Terselic. About 25 riders representing three schools came out for that first competition. The following year, the league expanded to host two shows, one in the fall and one in the spring. Now, the league offers two different series (varsity and junior varsity) with one show a month from September through April.
This year, about 100 riders representing 26 schools competed in the varsity shows while around 55 riders from 16 schools competed in the junior varsity competitions. Shows were held at Oatland Stables in Laytonsville, Full Moon Farm in Finksburg and NFF Stables in Poolesville.
With classes ranging from walk/trot through Advanced Medal, there is something for all skill levels. And best of all, these young riders get a chance to compete for their school. “I think the participants in our series get a huge dose of sportsmanship, discipline, responsibility and of course fun, all in one activity,” Devereaux stated.
The Equiery got involved with the series this year, offering year-end awards and ribbons to the top eight schools in each series.
Ins & Outs of Showing in the ISHS
Here’s how the shows work. Riders from each team are divided into divisions based on skill level and academic year. For varsity, you have Advanced and Intermediate split with the juniors and seniors competing against each other and the freshmen, sophomores and middle schoolers all in the same classes. For junior varsity, there is Future Intermediate, Novice and Maiden, with some division splits being added based on academic year.
These riders can bring their own personal horses or horses from the barns where they ride, or rent a horse from the host barn for the day. Placings are given through sixth in two hack classes with anyone who placed being invited back for a jump round. The Surrey sponsors a medal class for the most advanced level riders in varsity and junior varsity as well. This class is primarily a jump class with some flat work questions added.
At each show, champion and reserve champion riders are named per division and the top three riders for each team are tallied for the team standings. The Equiery got involved with the series this year, offering year-end awards and ribbons to the top eight schools at each level.
At the junior varsity level, The Key School came out on top as the champion school. Finishing the season as the reserve champion school was St. Andrews. Third place went to Urbana, fourth to the Academy of the Holy Cross, fifth to Winston Churchill, sixth to T.S. Wootton, seventh to Barrie School and eighth to Connelly School of the Holy Child.
At the varsity level, T.S. Wootton won the series. The reserve championship went to Barrie School. Once again, the top eight schools were recognized for their achievements. In third place was Archbishop Spalding, fourth Linganore/Oakdale, fifth Dulaney, sixth Poolesville, seventh Winston Churchill and eighth Indian Creek.
As well as team awards and standings, the top riders in each division were brought back at the Invitational to ride for individual champion and reserve champion honors. Team awards were also presented at these shows.
The Junior Varsity Invitational was held at Full Moon Farm on April 3. Erica Harman of the Academy of the Holy Cross was crowned the High School Future Intermediate champion. Danielle Jacobson of Walt Whitman was the reserve champion.
Alex Peterson of The Key School topped the Middle School Future Intermediate division with fellow Key School rider Paige Cassat earning the reserve.
Riders at this level had the option of competing in The Surrey Junior Equitation Medal class. Erica Harman came out on top again, with Alex Peterson of The Key School placing second and Alana Hamann of Watkins Mill finishing third. Fourth went to Emma Davye of St. Andrews and Danielle Jacobson placed fifth for Walt Whitman.
Meagan Spry of Indian Creek won the High School Novice division. Reserve went to Nicole Laschever of Urbana. Middle School Novice was won by Sarah Holladay of Connelly School of the Holy Child. The reserve went to Lindy Hill of St. Andrews.
Chloe Press of Winston Churchill won the Maiden division championship, which combines both middle and high school riders. Stella Hudson of The Key School earned the reserve championship at this level.
The Varsity Invitational was held at NFF Stables on April 17. Earning the blue ribbon in all three classes was Aleks Timrots of T.S. Wootton. The triple blues led her to be the champion rider at the Junior/Senior Advanced level. Hayley Cohen from Indian Creek took home the reserve. In the Freshman/Sophomore/Middle School Advanced division, Nicole Hylton from Linganore/Oakdale earned the championship with Jillian Kaufman from St. Andrews earning the reserve.
The Advanced riders also participated in the Surrey Equitation Medal class. Aleks won again, picking up the first-place medal. In second was Alana Martinez from Quince Orchard. Third went to Hayley Cohen of Indian Creek, fourth was Gillian Knoble of Archbishop Spalding and fifth was Madeline Poss of Poolesville. Alexa Easton of the Academy of the Holy Cross earned sixth while Grace Bigham of Barrie School placed seventh. Eighth was earned by Aoife Magner of Connelly School of the Holy Child.
The Junior/Senior Intermediate champion was Jamie Suever from Linganore/Oakdale. Emma Vogel of T.S. Wootton was the reserve champion at this level. In Freshman/Sophomore/Middle School Intermediate, Hayley Mullen of Dulaney earned champion while teammate Hannah Woodson was the reserve champion.
Spirit & Dedication
In addition to team and individual awards, the ISHS also recognizes one rider from varsity and one from junior varsity who exhibits excellent sportsmanship. These riders are nominated throughout the season by anyone who attends the shows (coaches, riders, parents and others). The varsity award went to Sarah Gibson of Indian Creek. Laura Rosenwald, from Urbana won the junior varsity award.
This year’s Coach of the Year went to Amy Wokasien, who although she mainly coaches the Poolesville team, is on hand at all NFF shows to help any rider in need.