Students to compete in equestrian show

Matt Kuhns

A freshman in animal science will become the first Iowa State student to compete in the National Intercollegiate Equestrian Show competition May 2 in Port Jarvis, New York.

Erin Holmes, member of the ISU Equestrian Club, was invited to the national show competition after placing third in the zones level competition in Cleveland, Ohio, earlier this month.

Holmes, along with Jessie Gretter, junior in veterinary medicine who also took part in the zones competition, were the first ISU students ever to advance beyond regional competition.

Gretter and Holmes competed with students from several major schools, many of which have more extensive practice facilities than ISU.

“We really are at a large disadvantage,” Gretter said, comparing ISU’s equestrian facilities to other schools.”

Most schools ISU competes with have several horses for show team members to practice with, while only one horse is available for ISU’s team, Gretter said.

As a result, show team members’ practice times are severely limited.

Nonetheless, Holmes said she believes ISU’s team “does very well” considering their limited practice opportunities.

During competition, each entrant is randomly paired with a horse, and must then execute various patterns and routines. Participants are judged on riding ability and horsemanship.

The top two riders from each regional competition advance to zones, and from there the top three riders are selected to compete at the national level.

Kelly Hart, president of the ISU Equestrian Club, said since the club’s membership has grown, more members are participating in the show team.

Holmes, who showed for the first time this year, said advancing to nationals took her by surprise.

“I didn’t feel like I had a good ride,” she said.

Holmes said she doesn’t know what to expect at the national competition, but hopes that “it will be a good learning experience.”

The Equestrian Club will hold a bake sale on Saturday to help pay for Holmes’ trip to Port Jarvis.