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Team will compete in California May 8-11.

May 5, 2008

3 Min Read

A national title rests on the line for the Michigan State University Equestrian Team, one of only nine stock seat teams to qualify for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championship Show in Burbank, Calif., May 8-11.

Representing MSU at the California contest will be: Chelsea Shivley, Lyman Briggs/zoology senior from Battle Creek, in open reining; Stephanie Murray, political science senior from Traverse City, in open horsemanship; Jamie Kalleward, animal science senior from Mason, in advanced horsemanship; Charlene Kolodziej, nutrition science sophomore from Williamsburg, in novice horsemanship; Lisamarie Radomski, marketing freshman from Evart, in intermediate horsemanship; and Aleta Daniels, zoology junior from Petoskey, in beginner horsemanship.

MSU finished its season as the top team in its region and qualified for the championship berth with a third place finish at the IHSA National Western Semifinal Show in Laurinburg, N.C., March 29-30. This season marks the first time that the entire team has qualified for nationals since the 1990s.

Adrienne Woodward, MSU Department of Animal Science doctoral student and team coach, said the trip to California highlights a year in which the team placed no lower than second at any of its seven regular season shows.

"Qualifying for nationals is an exciting and rewarding experience for the entire team," she said. "In the past, I have coached individual team members to national championships but never an entire team -- this year all six girls qualified. They are representing not only themselves individually but also the whole team and MSU. Competing for a national championship is more than a personal goal -- it's a team goal."

The MSU team will compete against teams from Stanford University, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, the University of Findlay, the Ohio State University, West Texas A & M, Oregon State University, Alfred University and West Virginia University.

"Winning a national championship would bring well-earned recognition to the MSU equine programs," Woodward said. "When a university wins a national title, the university stands out as one with a competitive equine program and one that develops good riders."

"The ultimate goal as a student is to qualify as a team at the national level," said MSU Equestrian Team member Chelsea Shivley, who has been riding for 16 years. "As a senior, this is a dream come true. It's the experience of a lifetime, competing against the best of the best."

The MSU Equestrian Team is a self-funded student activity. Team members must pay for all the costs associated with the judging experience, including entry fees, transportation, lodging and meals, and for the coach. Fund-raising events are conducted throughout the year, and team members pay for the balance out of their own pockets.

"Right now we're busy holding can drives and other fund-raising activities to help us cover our travel costs to California," Shivley said. "Our team is really dedicated, and we've all bonded with one another in and out of the saddle, so we approach fund-raising the same as we do practicing hard for competition. It's always a team effort."

To learn more about the MSU Equestrian Team, contact Woodward by calling 517-353-2260 or sending an e-mail to [email protected].

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