Two members of the University of Richmond Equestrian Team will compete in the zone finals competition Sunday, April 6.
Kristen Bailey, a senior and co-president of URET, will be competing along with Barbie Savani, a freshman.
Bailey said she was happy to be prolonging her time with the team and the regional competition would not be the last time she competed during her time on the team. Bailey will be competing in the novice over fences division. Savani will be competing in the open flat division, which is the highest level in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.
Competing in the zone finals competition is a prestigious honor as it is not easy to qualify, Bailey said. Each rider on the team is placed in a division and collects points during the competitive season, receiving the most points for placing first in any given competition and subsequently fewer points for placing lower. All riders who reach a certain amount of points are eligible to attend the regional competition. The number of points needed is 36 for some divisions and 28 for others.
From regionals, the top two scoring riders per division move on to the zone finals competition, Bailey said. URET is a member of zone four of the IHSA, which includes schools from Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The two top scoring riders per division at the zone finals are eligible to attend the national championship.
Within the last few years, few students have qualified for the zone finals competition, said Jessica Straus, the team’s trainer. Last year, one person qualified for the competition, and no students qualified in the two years preceding.
Riders at the zone finals competition become more competitive, Bailey said.
“You’ve made it this far,” she said. “You don’t want to stop now.”
Bailey said she typically practiced once or twice a week. With the zone finals competition Sunday, she has increased her practices to four or five times a week to be sure to get enough riding time, she said.
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