By: Leah Palm
The University of Findlay’s Western IHSA equestrian team kicked off their season with a home show this past weekend. The team finished out their 2017-18 year as National Champions, and now they have started this season as high point team in both the a.m. and p.m. shows.
Before the shows, current Head Coach Spencer Zimmerman said that he was excited to see how the team would perform with the addition of new members. With only two weeks of practice before the show both new and returning team members had to dive right into the competition.
“You kind of just jump in, that’s what we did last year and last year was my first year coaching,” Zimmerman shared.
Last year’s first show was away which allowed the team to select certain members to attend, so the new members had more time to practice and get acquainted with the team. This year, that was not the case.
“We did lose our first horse show last year so I felt like that was our fire that drove us the rest of our season last year to keep us ahead,” Zimmerman said. The home show this year allowed everyone to compete and the team emerged stronger because of it.
Zimmerman also shared that the first show is important in evaluating the other participating team and being able to find weaknesses to work on in the future. Senior western equestrian major and member of the team Hailey Oldford-Ostrowski agreed.
“They (the shows) help with preparation right from the start because it shows us where we are at in comparison to other university’s teams as well as what aspects we need improve and grow on through practice,” Oldford-Ostrowski explained. She feels that the shows at the beginning of the year are an important asset in preparing the team for bigger shows at the end of year.
“I am excited for…the talent that we have seen from returning members coming back from being National Champions last year as well as the potential that the new members to the team have,” Oldford-Ostrowski shared. She says that the team has great chemistry and will be able to embrace their strengths as well as work on weaknesses in the coming season.
The team has proven that they are off to a great start for this year. In the coming months they will practice tirelessly to find those strengths and improve upon those weaknesses in hopes of once again becoming national champions in 2019.