Arizona equestrian galloping to nationals
Brook Grobosky, an animal sciences sophomore, works on horsemanship patterns at the UA Equine Center on Friday. Grobosky and two other members of the UA’s Equestrian club will compete at the 2014 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championship in May.
Three members of the UA’s equestrian team will compete in the 2014 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championship in May.
Mickey Bagley, club secretary Brook Grobosky and club president Stephanie Norton will represent the UA’s equestrian team in nationals.
Bagley, Grobosky and Norton were the top qualifiers for their divisions last month at the semi-finals in North Carolina. This will be the first time they have competed in the IHSA nationals.
“It was awesome,” Grobosky said. “We were the only three to qualify for semi-finals, and then to qualify for nationals was crazy-amazing.”
The top 12 riders in each of the five divisions will participate, with Arizona having three top riders in two divisions. Grobosky and Norton will compete in the horsemanship division and Bagley will compete in the reining division.
This will be the first time since 2001 that a member of the equestrian team has qualified and will compete in the IHSA National Championship.
Head coach Kristi Transue was one of the original members when the equestrian team was founded in 2001.
IHSA was created to give students the opportunity to become equestrian riders regardless of their skill level or financial background. The IHSA has about 400 college teams that participate in its competitions annually. Arizona is in Zone 8, Region 2 in the Western section.
Throughout the year, the college-level riders compete in different IHSA events and accumulate points that help them qualify for more prominent events such as regionals, semi-finals and nationals.
Before each IHSA event, the riders pick a name out of a hat and are given a horse to ride that they have never ridden before.
“This evens the playing field, and everyone can really showcase their talents,” Norton said.
In order to qualify for nationals, each rider had to be in the top eight out of 16 in their division at the semi-finals. Then from the top eight, the top four winners were chosen to go to nationals.
To help raise funds for the team and cover its traveling expenses, Mama’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Cue will host a percentage night for the equestrian team on April 22. All of the proceeds from the percentage night will help fund the trip to nationals. The team is funded solely by fundraising and welcomes team sponsorships.
The 2014 IHSA National Championship will be May 1 through 4 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa.
—Follow Daniela Vizcarra @vizcarra_dw