Rockford equestrian team finishes strong at state after winning regionals

Rockford’s equestrian B team finishes the season with a third-place finish in the MIHA state finals.

Rockford’s equestrian B team finishes the season with a third-place finish in the MIHA state finals.

The Rockford equestrian B team finished out their 2009-2010 riding season with a third-place finish at the Michigan Interscholastic Horsemanship Association (MIHA) state finals held October 15-18, 2009. The eight riders moved their horses to Midland, Mich. for the long weekend and kept pressure on the other nine teams the entire event.

“The team had a few missed opportunities early on in the meet, but finished very strong to earn their third-place ranking,” said head coach Sabrina Nyenhuis. “The school and community should be very proud of the performance of these riders who faced such stiff competition from around the state.”

The team begins practice early in the summer to achieve peak performance from the riders and horses by September, which is when they compete on three consecutive weekends for the district title. The team won the first-place district trophy, earning them a spot in the regional meet. The following weekend, the horseback riders moved to Barry County, where they took first place in the regional MIHA meet, earning them advancement to the state finals.

The Ram riders participate in events such as jumping, showmanship, equitation, trail patterns and speed events. The total points earned by their placing in each event determines the team’s overall score.

“We had a very strong team this year with many well-talented riders and horses. It takes years of practice and training to get the kids to this level of horsemanship,” said Nyenhuis. She noted that most of these riders also compete in local shows and the 4-H youth fair during the summer to help them get ready for the school competitive season.

The Rockford equestrian team had an outstanding year with many team and individual accomplishments.

“I’m very proud of all the students who participated on the equestrian team this year,” commented Coach Nyenhuis. “Their dedication to the school sport and their passion for keeping Rockford as a major equestrian contender is what the Rockford Ram spirit is all about.”

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