LEWISBORO, N.Y. It often meant getting up before the sun and maintaining a grueling schedule, but it paid off for 10 young equestrians from Echo Farm in Lewisboro who just completed their first season competing successfully in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA).
I am so proud of everyone on this team, said Callie Kuntz-Bauer, the team coach. They have all improved so much over the course of the season. They are strong, secure riders.
Kuntz-Bauer said being a member of the Echo Farm Show Team took a lot of commitment because each member had to attend five shows.
Many of the farms that host these shows are over two hours away, and the shows start at 6:30 a.m., she said. We were driving out of our driveway at 4:30 a.m., and these girls were cheerful and would maintain their composure until the end of the day at approximately 6:30 p.m. Kuntz-Bauer said.
The IEA is similar to intercollegiate riding but is open to middle school and high school kids. Teams travel to other barns that host shows. Through a random draw, they ride horses they have never ridden before. For example, a rider might draw a pony or a very large horse. With no time to get to know the horse, the rider must adjust quickly. In addition to basic riding skills, judging is based on the rider's ability to adapt to a new horse.
The IEA was a great way for these kids to get to ride a lot of different horses, Kuntz-Bauer said. They all came away as stronger, more confident riders.
Echo Farm's team consisted of 10 riders. The five middle school riders included Allison Bauer, Kate Harckham, Eleanor Henrich, Grace Henrich and Hannah November. The high school team was made up of Emma Harckham, Amanda Ferrara, Hannah Sfreddo, Samantha Soulias and Margaret Hall. Kuntz-Bauer said that special mention goes to Ferrara, Sfreddo, Bauer, Henrich and November, who all accumulated enough points throughout the season to qualify for the regionals held on Long Island.
Kuntz-Bauer said Echo Farm plans to have an even larger IEA team this coming fall season.
We are already looking forward to our next season, which starts in September 2012, and I expect the team to be slightly bigger, she said. We are holding team tryouts over the summer in late August.
Kuntz-Bauer and her husband, Keith, have owned and operated Echo Farm since 2000.
We are a family-friendly barn that welcomes all levels of riders, she said. We have pleasure riders, dressage, eventing and show riders here all in a relaxed, low-stress atmosphere. We love to help the new owner as well as start the new rider, whether child or adult. We offer English and Western lessons and also have a summer camp.
Those interested in trying out for the farms IEA team can call 914-763-5742. The teams progress can be followed at the Echo Farm Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Echo-Farm/243960218533
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