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Two Wesleyan equestrian team members qualify for IDA National Championship

Wesleyan College equestrian team member Audrey Mecklenburg ’22 will compete in Upper Training Dressage Seat Equitation at the 2020 Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) National Championship and Catherenne (Caty) Hogeland ’20 will compete in Individual Lower Training. The event will be hosted by Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, April 24 - 26. Both riders joined the IDA Team when the College joined in fall 2019. Wesleyan is a member of IDA Region J that includes colleges from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Wesleyan is the only school in Georgia competing in IDA.

Audrey qualified for the IDA National Championship after competing this season in two shows hosted by The University of Florida, placing 1st and 2nd in November and 1st and 5th in February. The criteria for judging Dressage Seat Equitation includes overall correct position, relaxation and suppleness of rider, unity with the horse, lightness and correct application of aids, ability to maintain tempo and rhythm, and overall quality of performance.

Caty qualified after placing 1st and 2nd in November and 2nd and 3rd in February. Dressage is an ancient equestrian discipline that highlights movements originally used in battle with warhorses. Dressage means “training” in French. Scores are given on individual movements in a standard test with each movement awarded a score of 0 to 10. The rider with the highest overall score wins. The criteria includes balance of the rider with the horse, correct bend and preparation of transitions, harmony of horse and rider, as well as geometry and accuracy of the test demonstrating correct size and shape of movements.

Wesleyan Head Equestrian Coach Catherine Baker said, “I am so proud of our IDA Team for taking on a new discipline and doing an outstanding job in their first year of dressage. Since this was our first year competing in dressage, we did not have a dressage arena for them to practice their tests. Our limited experience dressage riders did an amazing job earning great scores and placings at each show. We had three riders competing in IDA this year and for two to qualify for IDA National Championships is an accomplishment almost unheard of.”

The IDA began in 1995 at Mt. Holyoke College with college and secondary schools participating in team dressage competitions. In 2003, IDA became a college-only organization providing team dressage competitions where the rider draws for the horse on which they will compete. Horses are provided by the host school, other colleges, and private owners. IDA is affiliated with USDF (United States Dressage Federation) and adheres to USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) competition rules.

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