Boston University Senior Elizabeth Nevins Wins Hunter Seat High-Point Rider Cacchione Cup at The IHSA National Championship Horse

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2023 Cacchione Cup National Champion Elizabeth Nevins (Boston University) on Houdini (Centenary University) with Kevin Price, USHJA executive director, Boston University Hunter Seat Head Coach Phyllis Cervelli, Bob Cacchione, Tom Cacchione and James Ruder, Back on Track CEO and managing director. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography

Edited Press Release

Lexington, KY – May 6, 2023 – The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) awarded Boston University senior Elizabeth Nevins the Cacchione Cup as Hunter Seat High-Point Rider of the 2023 National Championship Horse Show.

After the over-fences and flat phases, the judges brought back the top eight riders for the work-off round. Nevins (Boston, Massachusetts) was last to execute the short course aboard Houdini, a 16.1h bay gelding from Centenary University (Hackettstown, New Jersey).

“I was so excited (to draw Houdini),” said Nevins. “I watched him all of last year and loved him, and I’ve been watching him the past two days just go in and be such a consistent lovely horse. He’s smaller and I’m smaller, so we got along really great and I was just so thrilled. I knew he was one that I would get along with pretty instantly and he was so much fun. Exactly my type of ride.”

The work-off course, designed by Bill Yeager (Midland, Virginia), consisted of six jumps. The judges, Robin Rost Brown (Ocala, Florida) and Tony Sgarlata (Raliegh, North Carolina), asked for riders to demonstrate walk, counter canter and turn on the haunches elements. Nevins was the only rider to begin her round with a courtesy circle while the others cantered straight to fence one. She made a wider roll back to the last jump after the turn on the haunches, both of which she said were plans made with BU head coach Phyllis Cervelli, who has led the team since 1991.

Cole Jackson (Goucher College) and Alexander Alston (SCAD) in the line up before the Team Open Equitation on the Flat national champion was announced. Photo by EQ Media

“I really enjoyed my counter canter jump,” said Nevins.” He came off my leg really nicely in the corner and we were able to catch one that was really flowing and beautiful. I also liked my bending six (at fences two to three). I caught a nice one in that, that we both saw out of the turn and that makes everything easier.”

Growing up in Seattle, Washington, Nevins has experience in the 3′ to 3’6″ equitation classes and competed in a few medal finals before moving across the country to BU. “I was really excited about the IHSA atmosphere because of the team part of it,” said Nevins. “It was something that you don’t really have on the A circuit and I was so excited to be a part of something bigger and contribute to a team that was more than just myself.”

“Elizabeth has been one of the hardest working students I’ve had,” Cervelli said. “She’s put everything into her training and taken it very seriously. She’s been captain of the team for two years. I’m just really proud of her.”

The reserve champion honors went to Celia Cram (Aiken, South Carolina) from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) on Laguna from Skidmore College (Sherborn, Massachusetts). Centenary University senior Morgan Munz (Califon, New Jersey) rode to third place with the Otterbein University (Westerville, Ohio) mount Ralphie.

Hunter seat team competition concluded with Team Open Equitation Over Fences and Team Open Equitation on the Flat.

IHSA – Nationals 2023 – Hunter Seat Champion Team – Skidmore – Credit EQ Media-4 copy Skidmore College Thoroughbreds are the 2023 Hunter Seat Team Champions. Photo by EQ Medi

Anna Perlow (Hampton Bays, New York), a junior from Long Island University-Post (Brookville, New York), defended her 2022 National Championship title and rode to the win in the Team Open Equitation Over Fences aboard Centenary University’s Houdini. SCAD’s Celia Cram and the Skidmore College mount, Gigi, were reserve. Cole Jackson (Denver, Colorado), the Goucher College senior, rode to third on My Way from Hollins University (Hollins, Virginia).

The Team Open Equation on the Flat tested the riders’ skills, balance and position in the three gaits, both with and without stirrups. The judges’ pick and the national championship honors went to SCAD’s Alexander Alston and Allmyso, provided by Hollins University. Cole Jackson rode to second place honors aboard Nagini, a bay gelding from St. Lawrence University (Canton, New York). Rounding out the top three was the Skidmore College mount, Ralphie, with Skidmore’s own Harper Sanford (Chester, Connecticut) in the irons.

At the conclusion of the hunter seat classes, the results were tabulated into points and the top-10 teams were called into the arena in reverse order. After two days of challenging competition, the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds rose to the top with 46.5 points. Closely behind in second was SCAD with 45 points. Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College rounded out the top three.

“It feels phenomenal. It’s my first time winning as head coach,” said Belinda Colgan, Skidmore College hunter seat head coach. “I felt very confident in all my girls walking in. They’re phenomenal riders, every one of them. With a little luck, which we had with some wonderful horse draws, they came through and I honestly don’t know how they do it. They handle the pressure like pros.

“I’m most proud of their camaraderie and hard work,” she added. “It takes a lot of effort to be able to put in the time academically as well as physically. To come out on top like this and not crumble under the pressure. And on top of that, the hard work in the barn making sure that our horses are getting the wonderful care that they need and always putting them first.”

Full Hunter Seat Team Results
1. Skidmore College (Sherborn, Massachusetts)
2. Savannah College of Art & Design (Savannah, Georgia)
3. Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College (Emory, Virginia)
4. Long Island University – Post (Brookville, New York)
5. Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, Massachusetts)
6. University of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina)
7. Centenary University (Hackettstown, New Jersey)
8. Goucher College (Baltimore, Maryland)
9. University of Findlay (Findlay, Ohio)
9. Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, Connecticut)
10. Otterbein University (Westerville, Ohio)

Watch Elizabeth Nevins’ winning round here.

Original press release from IHSA.

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