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Duncan’s QMS equestrians making an impact south of the border

QMS secures Canada’s first IEA regional berths

The Queen Margaret’s School equestrian team has jumped into the American Interscholastic Equestrian Association show circuit this year with phenomenal success.

The QMS Hunt Seat varsity team and five individual riders have qualified for the IEA regional and Zone 9 finals in their inaugural competition year, setting these trailblazing riders on an exciting path.

The IEA Hunt Seat riding format allows riders of all levels to compete throughout the United States, with the students from QMS competing as the only Canadian team this year. IEA focuses on fun, sportsmanship and equitation – judges assess a rider’s position and their ability to clearly communicate with the horse for their overall performance. The most challenging part of the IEA format is that each athlete rides an unknown mount as horses are assigned through a draw-based format.

“While the format provides unknowns, the supportive team environment ensures riders remain positive, flexible and open to adjusting their riding style based on the horse they ride,” said Angie Dobbie, QMS’s director of equestrian. “It has been hugely popular with our athletes and I’m extremely proud of everything they’ve achieved so far.”

Last year the school tested the IEA program and riders learned the rules at workshops and practice shows run in IEA format.

“Our original plan was to attend a single two-day show this season so our riders could measure their skills against this unfamiliar format,” explained coach, Indiana Wynne-Smith. “Our first show in Blaine, Wash. was so successful and popular with our students that our team doubled in size within a week and more competitions were added to the calendar. The excitement was contagious! The kids loved the team camaraderie aspect of the shows and working with horses they have never ridden before.”

Now, after only three shows, five QMS riders have qualified for individual competition at the IEA regionals in Tenino, Wash. on Feb. 10.

Athletes competing as individuals at the varsity level (Grades 9–12) will be Halle Plester and Poppy Garrad-Cole, while Julianna Wynne-Smith, Emily Efraimsson and Adele Bartfai will be competing as individuals at the futures level (Grades 4–8).

In addition to these individual accomplishments, the QMS Varsity team’s strong results, including first place finishes at two separate shows, has earned them a slot at the Zone 9 finals in Sherwood, Ore. March 10-11.

Their achievement is a Canadian first.

The varsity team will include Maggy Buttner-Danyliw, Hannah Blair-Smith, Garrad-Cole, Plester, Rowan Picard and Hannah Shaw.

A first-place win in any of the individual classes or combined team placing at the Zone 9 finals would secure QMS riders a berth at the IEA Nationals in Tyron, North Carolina later this spring.

“This whole initiative ticks all the boxes in terms of what we aspire for our young athletes to experience,” said David Robertson, Head of School. “And the results are outstanding!”

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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