By Caroline Ryan
Alex Rand, a senior health science major and member of the equestrian team, has qualified to compete in the IHSA National Championships in Lexington, KY at the Kentucky Horse Park from May 4-7. Rand learned she qualified for nationals on March 19 at the team’s last show of the season at the Suffolk County Show, in Medford.
The equestrian team has 21 members and became an NCAA sport during the fall 2016 semester. This is Rand’s first year going to nationals, to qualify, Rand earned the title of Cacchione Rider for the region. To qualify for nationals, you have to earn the most points throughout the regular show season. Since being named Cacchione rider, Rand received a direct ticket to nationals to compete against all the other Cacchione riders from different regions around the country.
“Having one of our riders go for Cacchione is an amazing way to end our first year as an NCAA team,” Mallory Slack, a junior biology major who is also a member of the team, said. “Not only does it show we’re committed but also competitive and Alex Rand is the definition of both those qualities. I can’t think of a more deserving rider to be representing LIU Post in Kentucky this year!”
Rand, who is looking forward to representing the Post equestrian team, has been working hard to prepare for the event. “I am working with my coaches Brooke Chasin and Nicole Palmero to perfect my riding position and ability to adapt to different horses. When I qualified, I was overwhelmed with emotions. This was the best possible way to end my intercollegiate horse show career.”
“It’s really awesome that Alex qualified for nationals in her last year. We are really excited for her to attend and are so glad the team is doing so well this year,” Brooke Chasin, who has coached the equestrian team since 2015, said.
According to Rand, the national competition is judged on the ability to hold the correct position while effectively communicating with the horse to complete the tasks given. “It’s important that I practice on many different horses because like any other IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) competition I will be drawing a horse at random and will have never seen nor sat on until right before I walk in the show ring to be judged,” Rand said.
“We are all very proud of her. The team has practiced so hard this year and it is showing through the results we are earning. Nationals will be great exposure for the team and we hope to get more national qualifiers this weekend at Zone finals,” Jessica Sulkers, a sophomore business major on the team, said. Zone finals are the semi-finals, which take place Saturday, April 8 at Skidmore College.