St. Andrews IDA show, Sunday, March 2, 2014
This weekend marked the last show for the dressage team this year. They had some hard competition, finishing 5th as the team, but they were Reserve High Point team for their Region and will be classified as a “wild card” towards Nationals. If the team does not get to go forward to Nationals, there is a chance that sophomore Elizabethe Weeks, who finished as Reserve Champion Intro rider Sunday, might go as an individual.
However, this show might have marked the end of the season, potentially, but it was also the end of collegiate careers for seniors Abi Skillman and Sarah Jones.
When the seniors were asked various questions about this experience and what they would take away from it, they took a day to respond, and responded with some pretty deep answers.
Sarah Jones- “The best experience I got from this season was the opportunity to show at First level. I have shown First level tests on my own horse but being able to ride for my team was exciting.
The highlight of my IDA career was probably getting the reserve high score award at NC State's IDA show and winning the show with my team. I will miss my team members the most. I have met so many great people, even the ones who are no longer on the team. These girls mean a lot to me!
Being able to ride so many different horses and riding with different instructors and clinicians has really helped my riding abilities and I have learned so much from all those different people.”
Abi Skillman- “Throughout this experience I have learned not only how to become a better rider but also a better friend and person. I gained a new respect for the discipline and learned that life isn't all about the ribbons but about the relationship you make with horses and people. What I will miss most about IDA is the camaraderie between the teammates. We spend a lot of time together and work so hard, it’s really nice that we are all actually good friends as well and truly support each other. We really spread the love and I will definitely miss being a part of such a tight knit team. The highlight of my IDA career at SAU was coming back from the Ethics Symposium in Hilton Head to show on the second day of our opening back to back shows and earning a second place. Last season I was still learning the ropes of the dressage world so it was great to see the reward from all the hard work. The best IDA experience I have had this season was learning to control my emotions and overcome the mental block I get when I draw a tough horse or have to ride under pressure. At our final show I was doing both but I worked through it and had the best ride I have ever had on that horse. When I finished my test Jackie gave me a hug and said she was proud of me. That moment really meant a lot.”
When I asked Jackie Dwelle about her thoughts about this season and her seniors she said this, “Watching the riders develop their skills was my favorite highlight from this season. It is so much more than being able to ride, you have to be physically fit and perhaps even more importantly, be able to manage your emotions to overcome the mental challenges that this sport brings. It has been so fulfilling to see Abi go from being an accomplished hunter seat rider, making the transition to beginner dressage rider, modifying her position and learning new techniques with the horse. Last year she did not place at all, this year she earned good ribbons every time out and was so close to winning the region had the "luck of the draw" been in her favor. Sarah is a completely different rider. She agreed to ride first level as we had an open slot this year. She has risen to the occasion, with soft consistent rides. The thing I like about Sarah is that she listens to everything you tell her and puts it to work, she gets the job done during her tests, and comes out after the test knowing that she rode well. She is always pleased with her performance no matter where she places. Both these girls have competed win or lose with good sportsmanship and a "what can I learn from this?" attitude. I hope that they have learned to be better horsemen and team players. Most of all I hope that some of the lessons they have learned will provide them with tools to deal with future challenges that they will encounter not just in their riding but in life as well.”
Dwelle also said that she is sad to see the Seniors move onto the next phase of their life's journey in May, but she wishes them all the best as they go out into the world. “I hope they will keep in touch and know they are always welcome to come back to their home at St. Andrews,” she said.
|Abi riding Jake in the warm up parade|