Western Equestrian Team Prepares for Nationals

Aria Morgan, Liberty Center, Ohio sophomore, with Topper the horse at Michigan State Expo Center on Jan 30. Morgan competes in the Western discipline of Equestrian riding. (Photo courtesy of Aria Morgan via Norfleet Photography).

It’s been an exciting year for Albion’s Western Equestrian team as they prepare to head to the 2022 International Horse Show Association (ISHA) Nationals. This will be the first time for the Albion Western Equestrian team to represent the college at the IHSA Nationals on May 2 after a qualifying performance by their riders at the Semifinal AQHA Trophy Team competition on March 11. 

At Nationals, Albion’s Western Equestrian Team will be competing against the top nine ranked Western IHSA teams from across the United States.

As a co-educational sport, the Albion Western Equestrian team gives both Albion men and women opportunities to compete against each other in a variety of Western Equestrian disciplines and events. 

Coach D’Agostino instructing Aria Morgan and Chubs the horse at the Nancy Held Equestrian Center, Feb 6. Albion Equestrian riders call the Nancy Held Equestrian Center home and is where riders will be practicing in the lead-up to Nationals. (Photo courtesy of Aria Morgan via Norfleet Photography).

The Albion team is made up of riders from varying skill levels and have been committed this season to improve their performance on various things such as balance, posture and communication with the horse they ride.

“The key to our success has been consistency and focus. I really push my riders to maintain these key principles in their riding because it helps them succeed at this higher level of competition,” said Western Coach Adam D’Agostino.

In the weeks leading up to the team’s participation at Nationals, the ability to be able to perform at the highest level remains a nonstop objective for the riders and D’Agostino. 

“The Equestrian Brits are keeping busy with our usual practices until the date of the event,” said D’Agostino. “Hard work is nothing new to the Equestrian teams; they ride in all weather from August to May and practice three to five times a week, in addition to finding extra time to ride out of structured practice.”

For Albion’s riders, crucial leadership in preparation for Nationals by, “Coach Adam has pushed me to be a stronger person, student, athlete and rider. His guidance and love have caused a ripple effect throughout the program and given us a role model of selflessness,” said Liberty Center, Ohio sophomore Aria Morgan.

For the riders themselves, Morgan, who will be competing individually in each Western Equestrian category on May 2, describes the Western Equestrian team as having “a heart of gold and an undying determination to put our best foot forward.”

“Every year our team has a motto/phrase and this year it’s ‘One Team’ and this could not be more perfect,” said Morgan.

As the days count down towards the team’s big moment, the Albion Equestrian Hunt Seat team is set to compete at the Zone 6 show to have a shot to qualify for Nationals as well.

About Jay Willis 11 Articles
Jay Willis is a junior at Albion College and is a Political Science and History major. He is from Dearborn, Michigan, and is a member of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program.

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