Emerald City Equestrian Teams members, from left, Brittney Valentine of Marcellus, and Jennifer White and Abby Barry of Syracuse, get tips from trainer Kim Allan during a practice on Saturday, April 13.
Grace Cherney is one of the members of the team that qualified for individual competition for flat class.
Cherney is a 17-year old junior at Christian Brothers Academy and has been riding since she was five and plans to continue for the rest of her life, including college.
“I have always been in love with animals, so I think I have a passion for it because I have a passion for horses,” she said.
The IEA National Finals are held at a different location every year, coincidentally, they are in Syracuse this year.
Cherney said that while it would have been fun to travel for the competition, being local makes things easier and allows for more family and friends to come and show their support.
The competitions can be unpredictable because the riders never know what aspects of their riding the judges might focus on the most, she said. That is why it is an advantage for the Emerald City team to have three coaches.
“I like having three coaches because you’re not just getting one person’s opinion you are getting three,” she said. “They will often each look at different aspects of your riding, so it is nice to have different perceptions of you riding to be able to improve more.”
Paddock, of Skaneateles, coaches the team along with Kim Allan, of Skaneateles and Meg Maloney, of Cazenovia.
They have monthly practices at Affinity Farm on Coon Hill road in Skaneateles, and hold open tryouts in August and September. Per IEA rules, all the riders also have to take a private riding lesson once a week, though it is not a requirement that they own their own horse.
For more info on Emerald City Equestrian Team visit it their page on Facebook and for more information on the IEA visit rideiea.org.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.