Five Horse Show Weekend!

“The best part of going to shows with St. Andrews students is seeing the light bulbs click as they understand new concepts and break through new barriers in their riding careers, making these day and weekend shows chock full of knowledge and experience”. ~ Kelsi Peterson

Mother Nature decided we needed a slow start to our show season this year. So unusually our first really busy weekend did not occur until now. Five horse shows in one weekend!

At home the Western IHSA team hosted a show each day which was the first home shows of the year for the program and for Event Manager Robin Brooks who has jumped head first into this part of her job. For students new to St. Andrews this year it was their first experience of the machine that makes at home events possible. Conner Smith summed up the cooperation and teamwork that make at home events possible, “Keep doing what you’re doing! We’re doing great!”

Saturday the St. Andrews team tied with Virginia Tech for Reserve High Point Team and Sunday they took a clear lead as High Point Team.
Team Standings after Two shows;
St. Andrews                67
NCSU                          61
Virginia Tech              50
Liberty                        45
Martin                        41
Appalachian State     38
Campbell                   25
Western Carolina      22

Kelsi Peterson traveled to Greensboro for the Haunted Classic and sent in these results.
Liz Shaffer brought her own Paulchen to show in the open jumper classes, and won the 3’6 and the 4′ classes with beautiful rounds. This was Pauly’s first horse show jumping a 4′ course.

Greensboro Haunted Classic
Greensboro Haunted Classic

Jovan Daniel showed St. Andrews’ Platina in the 2’6 and Low Child/Adult jumpers. They earned a

2nd in the 2’6 and a 4th in the Low Child/Adult Stake class. Jovan looks forward to showing Platina in the future!

Hannah Newman, Katie Hines, and Hannah Sutton showed Camp Blue Star’s Benjamin Moore and St. Andrews’ horses Obi-Wan and Kemosabe, in the Long Stirrup hunter and equitation divisions. They came home with armfuls of ribbons and horse show experience. Hannah N. won a 2nd, two 3rds, and two 4th places. Katie earned a 4th, two 5ths, and two 6th place ribbons. Hannah S. earned a 2nd, 4th, and two 5th places.

The IHSA Hunter Seat Team headed out early to the Duke/Chapel Hill show. Weeks of practice and preparation paid off with several blue ribbons and High Point Team title.

IHSA Hunter Seat High Point Team at Duke/Chapel Hill Show
IHSA Hunter Seat High Point Team at Duke/Chapel Hill Show
Megan Pustarfi riding Astaire. Megan won Training Level Test 2 with a score of 70.385%
Megan Pustarfi riding Astaire. Megan won Training Level Test 2 with a score of 70.385%

The Eventing Team traveled to Antares Dressage to hone their competitive skills in the dressage arena. This was also a great practice for upcoming Intercollegiate Dressage Association shows (IDA).

Riders rode Training and First level tests earning good scores and improving on past performances.
Kelsi Peterson summed up the weekend well while reflecting the Greensboro show. “These students worked so well as a team, supporting each other, helping each other get ready, and took excellent care of our 4 legged friends. The best part of going to shows with SAU students is seeing the light bulbs click as they understand new concepts and break through new barriers in their riding careers, making these day and weekend shows chock full of knowledge and experience.”

IHSA Hunter Seat Wins at UNC-Wilmington

Congratulations to the IHSA Hunter Seat Team winning at UNC – Wilmington on Sunday with 38 points to UNC – Wilmington’s 29 points.

Jordan Belanger, Ashley Derrer, Zoe Cluck, Hannah Newman, Kaihly Gonzalez, Katie Thomas, Mackenzie Parks and Sabrina Vlacich all won their divisions with Belanger and Cluck qualifying for Regionals in Walk/Trot/Canter and Walk/Trot respectively.

Jarret Vaughn showing in hunter seat for the first time for St. Andrews placed second in Beginning Walk/Trot/Canter. (Previously, Jarret has ridden on the Western team only.) Callie Militz, Kathryn Owens, Mary Thomson and Sabrina Vlachich joined Jarret earning second place and five points in their divisions.

Winners IHSA Hunter Seat at Wilmington
Champion Team at UNC-Wilmington Oct 18, 2015

Team Results
St. Andrews – 39
UNC-Wilmington – 29
UNC-Charlotte – 27
UNC-Chapel Hill – 26
NC State University – 24
Campbell University – 20
Duke University – 18
East Carolina University – 17

Jordan Belanger 1st

Beginner Walk/Trot/Canter
Ashley Derrer 1st
Jarret Vaughn 2nd

Advanced Walk/Trot/Canter
Zoe Cluck 1st
Hannah Newman 1st
Callie Militz 2nd
Danaye Mokma 4th

Novice Flat
Kaihly Gonzalez 1st
Katie Thomas 1st
Kathryn Owens 2nd
Mary Thomson 2nd
Sabrina Vlachich 2nd

Novice Over Fences
Mackenzie Parks 1st
Katie Thomas 6th

Intermediate Flat
Liz Shaffer 4th

Intermediate Over Fences
Sabrina Vlacich 1st

Open Flat
Kelsey Kocher 4th
Amy Wrozek 4th

Open Over Fences
Kelsey Kocher 3rd

Elusive Excellence – Five Things You Can Do Today in the Pursuit of Excellence

Fourth in our series Elusive Excellence investigating the meaning behind our motto “Excellence is our Tradition”

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. – John W. Gardner

“Ordinary things” for a St. Andrews Equestrian student include:

  • Reading
  • Researching
  • Writing papers
  • Preparing and delivering presentations
  • Studying for tests and exams
  • Participating in riding lessons and team practice
  • Volunteering in the Ride-Like-A-Knight Therapeutic Horsemanship program
  • Attending Riding Council meetings
  • Working horse shows
  • Participating in clinics
  • Caring for the Horses
  • Doing workstudy at the barn

The list is probably missing several items. What is a time-strapped student to do as they try to live up to “Excellence is Our Tradition”?

Five Things You Can Do Today in the Pursuit of Excellence

  1. Manage and allocate time for all activities including exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep.
  2. Plan to do homework when you receive it rather than the night before it is due. Checking items off of your to-do list makes you feel good and if you run into difficulties with the assignment you have time to do more research or ask the Professor for help.
  3. Be early for class, lessons, work study and group meetings. Your peers, riding instructors and professors will appreciate that you care enough about them not to waste their time. Their time is as valuable as yours!
  4. Do extra research on papers and projects. Don’t do “just enough” do more! You will be amazed at what you might discover. See our recent post “Over Promise and Over Deliver” for more on this. (I promised 5 ideas for this post but delivered 6 – half the equation covered.)
  5. Be diligent in horse care. The Equine Professors are the reason our program exists; they are our common bond and why most of us chose St. Andrews. Take good care of them and the equipment. Show pride in your horsemanship. Treat them as the honorable professors that they are.
  6. Notice what needs to change. Did someone do something unsafe in the barn? This is a teachable moment, engage in a discussion with them as to possible safer methods for what they are doing – be nice, not confrontational. Did you see something amiss at the barn? Inform a barn manager, instructor or staff member, or if you can, fix the problem and then let a member of the equestrian staff know.

None of this is difficult but it is important. Doing the ordinary things in an extraordinary way sets you apart from the person who does just enough to “get by”. If you want to become someone people respect and can count on don’t be that “just getting by” person, be extraordinary and do it with a simile and happy attitude! Overtime you will see the results of your pursuit for excellence in your everyday life. People will notice, they will ask you to participate in opportunities that will enhance and improve your life. Win-win!

Open House with an Equestrian Theme

Friday and Saturday we will be welcoming high school seniors who are interested in St. Andrews. This unique open house includes a Friday evening reception and dinner where prospective students and their families can meet with coaches and faculty to discuss majors, classes and riding at St. Andrews. Saturday includes traditional open house activities such as tours of the campus and informational sessions with administration and staff. The highlight for most is an opportunity to take a lesson with one of the St. Andrews coaches. This event is an incredible opportunity to experience what it is like to be a student equestrian at St. Andrews.

Elusive Excellence – Our Fearless Leader

Third in our series Elusive Excellence investigating the meaning behind our motto “Excellence is our Tradition”

Excellence can be obtained if you:

…care more than others think is wise;

…risk more than others think is safe;

…dream more than others think is practical;

…expect more than others think is possible.

I ran into this quote several times when researching excellence. The author appears to be unknown, if you know differently please let me know! Each time I came back to this quote I thought of Equestrian Program Director Peggy McElveen. She is the definition of this quote!

Equestrian Program Director Peggy McElveen
Our Fearless Leader Peggy McElveen

…care more than others think is wise;

Peggy cares about everyone, she is a person of action. If a student, employee or colleague has a problem Peggy is the first person to step up and help out. She somehow knows what the person needs whether it be someone to drive them somewhere, make them food, counseling, loving advice or simply space to work through things. She supports everyone, it may not be exactly what you expected but it is always what you need! Peggy cares and it shows!

…risk more than others think is safe;

Peggy is a visionary. Visionaries boldly risk making waves with superiors or employees, suggest changes and happily endure the immediate negative human reaction to change, propose plans and ideas that require a significant commitment of resources and cheerfully problem solve objections to their plans. Peggy has proposed many ideas at St. Andrews. Many have not been adopted but the ones that have continue to improve the equestrian program and St. Andrews University.

…dream more than others think is practical;

Peggy’s motto is “big dreams don’t cost any more than little dreams”. When the idea of St. Andrews hosting the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championships in 2012 was first floated around 2010, Peggy quietly accepted the challenge and then started planning. Even with a world-class equestrian facility Laurinburg is not a town that can accommodate the number of competitors, vendors, spectators and horses needed for this week long horse show. Undaunted Peggy convinced the St. Andrews Administration to adjust the academic calendar so that the show did not conflict with graduation which it almost always does. She made the drive to Raleigh numerous times, contracted with the Hunt Complex at the NC State Fairgrounds, worked with area hotels and caters, and rallied her staff and the student body to support this iconic horse show. Outcome: a fabulous experience for students, staff, all of IHSA and certainly for St. Andrews.

…expect more than others think is possible.

The stories above illustrate this point. For her dedication to IHSA Peggy was awarded the Pioneer award in 2012 which is not awarded every year but only when it is truly deserved. I wrote a piece for the IHSA program as a tribute to the person we call our “Fearless Leader” and posted it on our old blog. A quote from this piece from a member of the St. Andrews faculty stands out,. “She holds herself, her staff, and students to the highest levels of excellence.”

Excellence is Our Tradition – starting with our Fearless Leader!

Click here to review the post on the Pioneer Award.

St. Andrews University New Website

St. Andrews University (a branch of Webber International University) launched its redesigned website today. The new cleaner look is easier to navigate with all pages being within two clicks of any other page – test that out if you like! The new look is the result of much effort from Daniel in Computer Services and Misty in the Communications Office. Thanks for working hard to make the new site a reality!

St. Andrews University Website

Elusive Excellence – Over Promise and Over Deliver

Second in our series Elusive Excellence investigating the meaning behind our motto “Excellence is our Tradition”

Entrepreneur James Altucher in his article “10 Things Successful People Never Do” states that to succeed one must over promise and over deliver. Altucher says, “There are 3,000,000,000 employees on the planet and they are all under promising and most of them are under delivering.” Just think how we could change the way things are done if most of us changed our habits!

Over promising takes courage, it often means more work, time and responsibility. Over promising requires one to commit, without reservation, to complete a project or assignment on time, with quality, sufficient detail and the resolve to follow up if needed. Over promising is difficult because you know that to do the task or job well that you will have to devote your time and resources to keep your promise.

Over delivering takes creativity to go the extra mile to produce a product that fulfills the agreed upon requirements and something extra as well. The project requirements must be fulfilled but it is often the extra effort that was applied to the project that leads to success by showing that one cared enough to thoroughly complete the project and offer more than was required.

For Professors over promising and over delivering might be not just teaching ones specialty but also committing to developing the skills related to life-long learning, enquiry, critical thinking, analysis and the ability to prepare a well-researched and logically organized argument or discussion. For students over promising and over delivering could include questioning ideas and concepts that they are presented with, doing their own research into the topic, analyzing all the data and preparing assignments supported by credible sources that include their opinion based on the facts. Often opinions are based on previous experiences which certainly may have some merit but shows a lack of curiosity for deeper truths and ideas.

Over promise and over deliver requires additional effort, a commitment to something greater than oneself perhaps a commitment to excellence?

This Week at the Barn

Lorrie Renker will be spending the week mentoring students in the Therapeutic Horsemanship Program. Lorrie arrives today and will be conducting several sessions exploring the importance of horse rider matches, mounting techniques and sharing her experiences as a Master Instructor with PATH Intl. including her recent liaison with a therapeutic horsemanship center in South Korea.

Saturday is our first IHSA Hunter Seat home show. We are very excited to kick off the show season with a large horse show at the Equestrian Center. Students are working hard to prepare the horses and the facility. Matt and Jessica and several students set a jump course last Friday as part of the preparation for this weekend. The show starts at 10:00 a.m.

Will be a busy week on both sides of the farm!

Elusive Excellence – Excellence Abhors Whining!

Excellence (ex·cel·lence ˈeks(ə)ləns/)

At some point in fairly recent St. Andrews history we adopted the phrase  “Excellence is our Tradition”. As with all mottoes interpretation is up to the reader. Merriam Webster defines excellence as “something of the highest quality”. The Oxford Dictionary offers this explanation “Something in which one excels” which to me is not a true definition given that it uses the same verb in the definition! defines excellence “as the condition of being superior”. That one does not appeal to me as I can see it promoting inflated egos.

The definition that I found that seemed most suitable came from

Excellence means greatness — the very best. Achieving excellence is never easy to do.

Excellence is a quality that people really appreciate, because it’s so hard to find. Excellence is the quality of excelling, of being truly the best at something. Getting an A+ shows excellence. Michael Jordan’s basketball career was filled with excellence. We love Picasso and Shakespeare for their excellence. When you see excellence, you should appreciate the work that went into it. So much in the world falls short of excellence.

In light of the elusiveness of excellence we are starting a weekly feature on the pursuit of excellence. This week, Excellence Abhors Whining!

As part of his article “10 Things Successful People Never Do” Entrepreneur James Altucher says people that fail have a lot of accidents. I am interpreting this as, unsuccessful students have a lot of excuses. Excuses I hear regularly from my riders and students include “I don’t like this saddle”, “I am sick” and “___________ (insert Professor’s name here) gave me too much homework to do so I did not have time for your assignment”.

Altucher’s states that successful people move, eat, sleep…well. He says, they have good relationships are creative and grateful, appreciating the “now” that is so often overlooked. In short they take care of themselves. For my riders and students I suggest rethinking some common practices.

Blaming the horse or the tack does not improve your riding. Working to do the best you can within the circumstances and reflecting in a positive way will improve your riding and your attitude.

Sickness happens to everyone, take care of yourself. If you skip my 8:00 a.m. class I had better not see you later at the barn! You are either sick or not. Be tough.

Time Management. Allot time to homework, plan when to do it and get it done. If you run out of time you may have to spend less time hanging with your friends. If you struggle with it, go to the Professor who assigned it and ask them to explain it to you. Get a tutor, use the Writing Center. Be proactive, don’t whine!

Tournament of Champions Results.

Team Standings
  1.       Bridgewater – 39
  2.       SCAD 1 – 33
  3.       Mt. Holyoke 1 – 30
  4.       SCAD 2 – 29
  5.       Mt. Holyoke 2 – 27
  6.       St. Andrews – 27
  7.       Randolph – 24
  8.       Penn State – 22
  •             Open O/F – Kelsey Kocher – 3rd
  •             Open Flat – Kelsey Kocher – 4th
  •             Intermediate O/F – Sabrina Vlacich – 3rd
  •             Intermediate Flat – Sabrina Vlacich – 2nd
  •             Novice O/F – Mackenzie Parks – 4th
  •             Novice Flat – Mary Thomson – DNP
  •             WTC – Grace Wadford – 3rd
  •             WT – Paola Sierra-Danielson – 4th​