DelVal Dressage Team Named Reserve National Champion

May 11, 2011


By Annmarie Ely

The DelVal Dressage team was named Reserve National Champion at the Intercollegiate Dressage Association National Championships in Newberry, Fla., on May 1.

Four DelVal riders, Caroline Fenkel, Alyssa Giulianelli, Katie Kashner and Carly Hartdorn, traveled to Florida with Coaches Angelo Telatin and Breann DePietro for the national competition.

“I think that it (the win) has really put us on the board,” said DePietro. “When Angelo first started coaching the team a few years ago our college was not very well known and now DelVal is a well recognized name in intercollegiate dressage.”

The “reserve” title goes to the second place finisher. This is the highest placing for both DelVal and the region.

Equine Studies student Caroline Fenkel, a first level rider, won her class.

DelVal competed against 12 of the top ranking college teams in the country. Lake Erie College took first place. Also competing were: Otterbein University, Johnson & Wales University, The University of Findlay, The University of Florida, Averett University, Virginia Intermont College, University of Massachusetts, Centenary College, Mount Holyoke College and University of California Davis.

DelVal has placed third twice in the past.

The word “dressage” comes from the French word meaning “to train.” In this type of riding, horses are guided through complex maneuvers by their rider’s subtle movements, such as the change of their rider’s weight or slight movement of the hands or legs.

The competition was full of emotional ups and downs for the team.

“It was very exciting,” said DePietro. “We didn’t find out until 8 that night that we’d won.”

Due to an error in calculations, the judges initially announced DelVal as fifth. When the correct score came in the team was thrilled.

“The students were jumping for joy,” DePietro said.

In addition to ribbons, engraved leather halters, riding breeches, gloves, and dressage whips, the team won a trophy that was too big to carry home on the plane.

“We’re very proud of the girls and extremely excited for the future,” said DePietro.

The coaches tried to get the riders to focus on positive thinking. At the airport they started talking about how “you have to imagine things going well.”

“The girls would all muster up their positive thoughts whenever someone was competing,” said DePietro. “Even when we experienced a set back they’d still bounce back and say, ‘we have to try even harder for the next one.’ ”

A lot of preparation went into the competition. Usually the team practices once a week, but when the riders found out they qualified for nationals, practices were upped to three time a week.

Riders had to try different horses because at the competition they ride on a horse they’ve never seen before with only a 10-minute warm up.

This was the first time any of the riders had been to nationals.

Fenkel, who won the individual competition, is minoring in psychology. She wants to go to graduate school to pursue a career in equine assisted psychotherapy.

Kashner, a graduating senior, is managing a driving stable and teaching lessons at a farm.

Giulianelli, an equine science and management major, is interested in pursuing a career in equine breeding.

Hartdorn, an equine studies junior, is interested in training horses.

Individual Results in team competition:

Caroline Fenkel: 2nd place in First Level
Alyssa Giulianelli: 3rd place in Upper Training Level
Katie Kashner: 8th place in Lower Training Level
Carly Hartdorn: 10th place in Introductory Level