In the 2010-11 season, the Cranberry Equestrian Middle School Team, “CET” for short, an Interscholastic Equestrian Team, was champion of Zone 1, made up of the six New England states, qualifying them for the IEA National Finals in Maryland. Last weekend, five years later, the Cranberry Equestrian Middle School Team once again finished in the top three of 18 teams at the Zone 1 Finals, qualifying them for the IEA National Finals once again, this year to be held in Lexington, KY at the Alltech Arena at Kentucky Horse Park.
The Cranberry Equestrian Middle School Team is based at Reunion Farm, Plympton Village, and is coached by Macaela Burnet, Geraldine Burnet, and Betsy Kupic.
The middle school team will travel to Lexington, KY to compete against 18 delegate teams from across the country April 20 through 24.
What does it take to bring a team of riders and a group of horses a thousand miles? “It takes a lot,” said Geraldine Burnet, owner of Reunion Farm. “A lot of effort and a lot of money.” Burnet continued, “We are all proud of the effort our team put forth for a chance to compete at the national level, and hope we will be able to get them there.”
As you can imagine, there are large costs involved with the endeavor. Each team member has to pay for airfare, hotel, coaching, local transportation, and meals.
To that end, the Cranberry Equestrian Team will hold a fundraiser this Saturday morning, April 2, at Reunion Farm, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Bring the kids and treat them to pony rides, a petting zoo, and a bake sale. Saturday night, April 2, the indoor riding arena will become home to games and two big screen family friendly movies from 6-9:30, bring the family! The cost is $20 per child, with a $35 family cap. The price includes popcorn, pizza, and soda.
This team will work hard to raise what they need to get where they need to go. They hope the community will pitch in and give them a hand.
Throughout the school year, the Cranberry Middle School Team held practice sessions once or twice each week and competed in a maximum of five events per student so that the playing field is level for each rider. Once a student has accumulated enough points, 18 this year, they qualify for post-season regional finals, which were held Feb 27 and 28 at Stoneleigh Burnham School in Greenfield, moving forward three riders per event onto the Zone 1 finals, held this year at Mt. Holyoke College, March 26, and 27.
The Interscholastic Equestrian Association is made up of 350 teams from across the country, in grades 6-12, who enter competitions on completely equipped horses that are provided at each venue to the students.
Since the horse is new to the rider, the scores are based upon horsemanship and equitation, and the skills the rider exhibits in controlling and bringing out the best attributes of the horse.
All disciplines offer a variety of ability levels from beginner through advanced. The IEA has set guidelines for the placement of new riders entering the IEA to allow for the unique program format of riding an unfamiliar horse.
For student equestrians in grades 6-12, the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) was established in the spring of 2002 and held its first annual national finals event the following year in Willoughby, Ohio. A non-profit organization, the IEA has grown both geometrically and geographically each year.