Hula – Excellent Equine

The Excellent Equine series is bought to you by The History & Theory of Modern Riding class Fall 2015. “Hula – Excellent Equine” was researched and written by Shannon Hahn.

In March 2013, Hula came to St. Andrews to join our Therapeutic Riding program. He is a Belgium Warmblood who was born on November 3, 1991 in Germany. He is part of the line of African Drum, who is a well-known show jumping stallion. Hula is by Prins-Drum Van Bellet and out of Diablesse Du Ruisseau. He was registered with the name Houla-Hop Du Ruisseau.

Hula had a successful career showing all across Europe. He showed as a young jumper and progressed through the ranks while in Europe. 1999 found Hula showing in Greece where he was purchased by Wilhelm Genn. After Mr. Genn bought Hula, he imported him to the United States for Randy Hannold and Holli Adams.

After arriving in the United States, he was registered with the name “Hula-Hoop,” which is a shortened version of his European name. Mr. Hannold then purchased Hula from Mr. Genn with the intention of showing in the Grand Prix division. Hula did compete at the Grand Prix level for a while before Randy Hannold and Holli Adams made the decision to occasionally show Hula in the Regular Working Hunter Division. This division is now the High Performance Hunters. This is a lot of Hula’s history before he entered the lives of the Porath Family back in 2003.

In March of 2003, Elizabeth Porath was at a show in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently had an injured pony and did not have anyone to show. Looking back she cannot remember who actually proposed the idea, but during second weekend of the show in Atlanta, she showed Hula in the pre-children’s hunters division. She remembers the jumps being so small that he halted in front of one of the jumps, and being so tiny herself, she just slid down his neck! She went on to show Hula in Aiken the following month, and in her words “after that it was game over.” She recalls that Randy and Holli insisted that he was “not for sale” since Hula was a favorite of Holli’s in the barn. Luckily for Liz the ended up allowing her family to buy him.

2003-2008 consisted of a lot of traveling, competing, and winning for this duo. Hula took her all the way from the younger Children’s Hunters to the Large Junior Hunters. He also took her all the way to Devon, Capital Challenge, Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Washington International Horse Show. The duo amassed many ribbons in equitation classes, the $100,000 hunter classic at the Queen City Classic, ribbons in all of the finals, as well as many tricolors and grand championships at shows. Some of these shows include the Aiken Spring Classic and the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.

Hula’s prolific showing career ended suddenly after a freak trailer accident on his way to Devon. From here, Hula entered our Therapeutic Riding program in March of 2013. Hula has been a huge addition to our TH program. According to one of our TH instructors, he is one of the few horses that we have in the program that is lift trained. This means that he will stand quietly beside the mechanical lift used to place riders on the horse’s back who are unable to use the ramp or a mounting block. Overall he is a great TH horse who always takes care of his riders. Due to his background, he has more movement than some of the other horses in the program, which is good for those riders that are “seeking movement” and can feel the horse’s movement. Hula is such a versatile horse that he is able to aid the program in many other ways. It was said that he “is a TH pony by day, and an IDA and IHSA horse on the weekends.” Hula has truly been a great addition to our program here at St. Andrews.


All of Hula’s history is courtesy of Liz and Sandra Porath. The information regarding his participation at St. Andrews is courtesy of Rachel Gaardsmoe.

IHSA Hunter Seat Show – Saturday, Dec. 5th

St. Andrews tied with N.C. State for High Point team at the show on Dec. 5 with 37 points.  Duke University was Reserve High Point with 35 points.
Overall Team Standings (after 5 out of 7 shows)
St. Andrews University                        199
NC State University                             165
UNC-Chapel Hill                                  140
UNC-Charlotte                                     144
Duke University                                   144
UNC-Wilmington                                 121
East Carolina University                     111
Campbell University                           58 (DNC)
Individual Results
Walk Trot      
Steven Dennis – 2nd
Beginner Walk Trot Canter
Jordan Belanger – 2nd
Samantha Garriques – 3rd
Advanced Walk Trot Canter
Jarett Vaughn – 1st
Kathleen Wilson – 1st
Charlie Robuck – 4th
Novice Flat
Mackenzie Parks – 1st
Janelle Petruska – 1st
Alex Varisco – 1st
Kirsten Farley – 3rd
Novice over Fences
Kirsten Farley – 2nd
Stacy Ferraro – 4th
Zoe Cluck – 6th
Intermediate Flat
Kat Owens – 4th
Liz Shaffer – 4th
Intermediate over Fences
Scout Maddox – 2nd
Open Flat
Kelsey Kocher – 1st
Amy Wrozek – 4th
Open over Fences
Kelsey Kocher – 2nd
Amy Wrozek – 3rd


ECU IHSA Hunter Seat Show

Hunter Seat Team

St. Andrews was high point team with 42 points. Reserve high point was UNC – Chapel Hill with 38 points.


Overall Team Standings (after 4 out of 7 shows)

St. Andrews University                        162

NC State University                             128

UNC-Charlotte                                  113

UNC-Chapel Hill                                  120

Duke University                                   109

UNC-Wilmington                                 101

East Carolina University                     93

Campbell University                            58


St. Andrews Hunter Seat IHSA Individual Results – Nov. 22

 Walk Trot

Steven Dennis – 1st

 Beginner Walk Trot Canter

Jarret Vaughn – 1st

Jordan Belanger – 2nd

 Advanced Walk Trot Canter

Charlie Robuck – 3rd

Taylor Westover – 3rd

Novice Flat

Mackenzie Parks – 1st

Stacy Ferraro – 1st

Kaihly Gonzalez – 5th

Novice Fences

Amy Carter – 2nd

Stacy Ferraro – 4th

 Intermediate Flat

Liz Shaffer – 2nd


Intermediate Fences

Scout Maddox – 1st

Caitlyn Woychik – 3rd

Open Flat

Kelsey Kocher – 1st

Amy Wrozek – 3rd


Open Fences

Amy Wrozek – 2nd

Kelsey Kocher – 3rd

Western Team Leading the Region

Western Team                                   Martin Community College/NCSU   Nov. 7-8

St. Andrews western team also maintains regional lead after 4 shows.

Regional Team Standings

St. Andrews University                        128

North Carolina State                           124

Virginia Tech                                       98

Liberty                                                 94

Martin CC                                           92

Appalachian State                               74

Campbell                                             54

Western Carolina                                36


St. Andrews Western IHSA Team Results

Saturday – Team Results                                           Sunday – Team Results                    

St. Andrews – Tied for High Point Team                    St. Andrews – Reserve High Point Team

Beginning                                                                   Beginning                  

Jordan Belanger          2nd                                            Jordan Belanger          2nd

Steven Dennis             3rd

Intermediate                                                              Intermediate 

Janelle Petruska          1st                                            Janelle Petruska          1st

Ashley Derrer              3rd                                            Ashley Derrer              1st


Novice                                                                        Novice

Dillon Vaughn             1st                                            Dillon Vaughn             1st


Advanced                                                                   Advanced

Conner Smith              1st                                            Conner Smith              2nd

Phillip Alden                6th                                            Jarret Vaughn             4th


Open                                                                           Open

Mark Mowbray           2nd                                            Mark Mowbray           2nd

Becca Alden                3rd                                            Becca Alden                2nd


Reining                                                                       Reining                      

Mark Mowbray           DNP                                         Mark Mowbray           6th

Dressage Maintains Regional Lead

Averett University Nov. 7 & 8, 2015

St. Andrews maintains regional lead after three Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) shows. Individual riders are also in good standing. The next IDA shows will be hosted by St. Andrews November 21 & 22.

Team Standings After Three Shows
St. Andrews 45pts.
Averett 43 pts.
NCSU 40 pts.

Individual Standings After Three Shows
First Level – Gaby Stephens in second place with 15 pts. behind Samantha Majors from NCSU with 18pts.
Upper Training – Megan Pustarfi and Elizabeth McNeel of NCSU tied for second place with 11 pts. behind Kasey Toth from AU with 15 pts.
Lower Training – Elizabeth Tate leads with 12 pts. Two riders tied for second place with 11 pts.
Introductory – Nina Jurac leads with 14 pts. Sarah Hartley in second with 11 pts. Third place has 8 pts.

Saturday – Team Results
1.    NCSU A
2.    Averett B
3.    Averett A
4.    St. Andrews A
5.    Mixed Team A
6.    St. Andrews B

First Level Test 2
2nd Gaby Stephens

Training Level Test 3
4th Geneva Masak
6th Megan Pustarf

Training Level Test 1
4th Elizabeth Tate
6th Courtney Anderson

Introductory Level Test 1
1st Nina Jurac
2nd Alyssa Lubarsky
3rd Sarah Hartley

Sunday – Team Results
1.    Averett A
2.    St. Andrews B
3.    Mixed Team B
4.    St. Andrews A
5.    Averett B
6.    NCSU B

First Level Test 2
3rd Gaby Stephens
5th Farrington Wallace

Training Level Test 3
2nd Megan Pustarfi
3rd Geneva Masak

Training Level Test 1
3rd Elizabeth Tate
5th Courtney Anderson

Introductory Level Test 1
1st Nina Jurac
5th Sarah Hartley

Dressage Team – High Point Team at NCSU Show

The Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team had a spectacular start to the intercollegiate season at the first show of the season hosted by North Carolina State University (NCSU) at Saddle Tree Stables in Willow Springs, NC. This is a new location for IDA competition and was a wonderful venue for the well-organized show.

First level riders set the stage for St. Andrews with freshmen Gaby Stephens, sophomores Farrin Wallace and Alex Varisco placing 1st, 2nd and 6th respectively with strong rides in First Level Test 1.

Senior Megan Pustarfi added to Team A’s points with a strong 2nd place in Training Level Test 2 and Daryl Macleod earned a point for the B Team with her 6th placing.

Sophomore Geneva Masak had a beautiful ride at Training Level Test 1 to earn high point rider of the day (76.304%) and the blue ribbon in Training Level Test 1. Gaby Stephens earned the reserve high point rider title with her score of 76.111%. Team B rider, freshman Beth Ann Tate laid down a good ride coming 2nd behind Masak.

At the Introductory Level, Senior Sarah Hartley rode to a second place finish in her first ever dressage test in competition with a score of 65.625%. Freshmen Alyssa Lubarsky placed 6th in the same division.

In the dressage seat equitation competition Rebecca Samsoe rode beautifully to earn second place in the Introductory division.

“An incredible start to the season,” said Coach Jackie Dwelle. “Everyone rode smart and sympathetically on the horse they drew. IDA is about riding the horse that shows up that day, not always an easy thing to do. The team applied the concepts we have been working on at home and showed off what they have learned. Great start to the 2015-2016 season!”

Team Results
St. Andrews A – 19
NCSU A – 15
St. Andrews B – 15 (tie broken by average percentage)
NCSU B – 11
Averett B – 10
Mixed Team – 7

First Level Test 1
1st Gaby Stephens 76.111%
2nd Farrin  Wallace 70.000%
6th Alex Varisco 64.074%

Training Level Test 2
2nd Megan Pustarfi 65.192%
6th Daryl Macleod 58.653%

Training Level Test 1
1st Geneva Masak 76.304%
2nd Beth Ann Tate 67.826%

Introductory Level Test B
2nd Sarah Hartley 65.625%
6th Alyssa Lubarsky 62.812%

High Point Team, High Point and Reserve High Point Riders. Great start to the year!
High Point Team, High Point and Reserve High Point Riders. Great start to the year!

Elusive Excellence – Excellence in Academics

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

Corinne Nicholson - Chair of Dept. Business and economics
Corinne Nicholson – Chair of Dept. Business and economics

When I think of excellence in the classroom one of the first people that comes to mind is Corinne Nicholson, Department Chair Business and Economics. Corinne’s classes are known for their demanding standards in personal presentation and academic rigor. Students are evaluated on how they present themselves as well as on the quality of their work. I asked Corinne about her philosophy towards classroom instruction.

“I require that our students think analytically, synthesize information, recognize and solve problems, work within dynamic environments, communicate effectively, and work in teams.  This learning environment allows them to believe in themselves and their abilities and to develop the confidence in their knowledge and skills to accept the challenges that lie ahead.”

Students in Corinne’s classes are pushed to stretch themselves out of their comfort zones and develop their skills as problem solvers and leaders. Senior Policy and Strategy Seminar is one such class where students are required to push past their comfort zones in many areas to achieve success.

“I maintain a passionate, uncompromising commitment to student learning through instructional excellence in the major.  Although professional service to the college and the larger community consumes a large percentage of my time, my role as an effective teacher, scholar, and advisor is my top priority.  I design and deliver courses that encourage students to expand their knowledge base, develop relevant skills, refine their entrepreneurial and strategic thinking, and develop the professional behavior needed for success in life.”

Corinne has been a leader in the development of the MBA program at St. Andrews which offers a unique higher education experience. The MBA program is designed to be taught as an in seat class while simultaneously being offered live on the web making it accessible to a wide range of students.

The recently added MBA for Equine Professionals is just one example of the innovative programs that Corinne has been instrumental in designing. Requiring students to work on strategic plans for an existing business this MBA track offers equine professionals access to a team of professionals to assist in the development of an equine business. Corinne’s contribution to the MBA program is significant from design of the curriculum to teaching some of the classes.

“I have taught the MBA capstone course on Strategic Thinking both in the summer and winter terms.  This is a challenging course for us all.  The class structure, requirements, and expectations are very different from the undergraduate level.  I enjoy seeing the students pull from all their previous graduate course work and synthesize their knowledge and skills into an integrated approach to thinking and analyzing.  Although the work load is demanding, the demonstration of learning is outstanding!”

Corinne Nicholson aspires for excellence with her never ending and rigorous pursuit of continual academic improvement translating into success for students in strategic leadership opportunities.

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!