Equestrian team competes at Stanford

Sturgeon+rode+a+palomino+gelding+named+Ottis+in+the+class+for+regionals.+Regionals+was+held+at+the+show+that+UW+hosted+at+the+Monroe+fairgrounds+in+March.
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Equestrian team competes at Stanford

Sturgeon rode a palomino gelding named Ottis in the class for regionals. Regionals was held at the show that UW hosted at the Monroe fairgrounds in March.

Sturgeon rode a palomino gelding named Ottis in the class for regionals. Regionals was held at the show that UW hosted at the Monroe fairgrounds in March.

Sturgeon rode a palomino gelding named Ottis in the class for regionals. Regionals was held at the show that UW hosted at the Monroe fairgrounds in March.

Sturgeon rode a palomino gelding named Ottis in the class for regionals. Regionals was held at the show that UW hosted at the Monroe fairgrounds in March.

Nick Tucker, Senior News Reporter

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Madison Sturgeon will be representing the CWU equestrian team in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) zones competition at Stanford University. This follows Sturgeon placing 2nd at regionals Feb. 23.

Sturgeon went to zones last year with the rest of the equestrian team, which is the competition level between regionals and nationals. That was the first time  the team made it to IHSA zones. This year Sturgeon will be competing as an individual rather than with the collective CWU equestrian team.

According to Sturgeon, who is now a senior, she first found out about the CWU equestrian team in her freshman year and joined during her sophomore year.

“For me it really made my experience at [CWU] a lot better. With equestrian there’s something you’re involved with every day and every weekend,” Sturgeon said. “The close friends that are involved that all share the same love of horses is why I like it so much, the competing part is just a bonus for me.”

Two of those friends are Gabrielle Longmire and Kylie Vroman who will both be accompanying Sturgeon to zones this year as the equestrian team’s coach and captain respectively.

“They’re awesome, they’re a big part of why I’m able to compete at this level now,” Sturgeon said. “They’re also my best friends on the team and outside of the team. Both great people, great riders, I’m really glad they get to come to Stanford with me to make the experience that much better.”

One added challenge to the competition is that the competitors don’t get to bring their own horse or even interact with the horse they will be competing with until the competition begins.

“She’ll draw her horse and she doesn’t get any time to interact with the horse at all before she starts competing,” Longmire said. “All you get to do is you get to watch them warm up, you get to watch other people ride them.”

According to Sturgeon, this along with the fact that Stanford will be providing their own high-quality horses, means that the competition is a lot more focused on the performance of the rider than the physical capabilities of the horse.

“You pretty much just draw a name out of a hat and that’s the horse you get. You’re not allowed to touch the reigns or find out anything about the horse,” Sturgeon said. “You just have to get in the ring and adapt to the horse, figure them out and that’s what you get judged on.”

Because of this need to adapt, training for Sturgeon consists of getting as much time as possible riding as many different horses as possible. In addition, there are also questions which include information on riding technique and equipment.

“I think she’ll be great, she’s a beautiful rider. She’s also been studying hard for the knowledge questions that they’ll be asking, and I think she’ll do really well,” Longmire said.

If Sturgeon does well in this competition, she’ll move on to the national-level IHSA competition which is held in Syracuse, New York from May 2-5.

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