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UW to Host First Equestrian Competition in Program History

February 24, 2011

The University of Wyoming equestrian club is used to traveling.

From Colorado to Texas, Nebraska to Kansas, UW logs thousands upon thousands of miles each season while competing in hunter seat and western riding events.

"It really is taxing on everybody," says UW Coach Kari Randle-Bright. "It's a little bit easier when we're riding well, like we are this year, but it's definitely exhausting. And that's an understatement."

The team's trip this weekend will be much shorter.

In a historic event that will feature nearly 90 hunter seat riders, UW will host six Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) rivals at the Cliff and Martha Hansen Livestock Teaching Arena in the program's first-ever home event. It will also be the first competition staged in Laramie in the IHSA's 44-year history.

"The fact that we're hosting a show is just phenomenal," Randle-Bright says. "The team is just so excited. I may be a little more nervous than excited, because there's so much work to do when you host a show, but we're thrilled to be hosting a show in Laramie for the first time."

She adds with a laugh, "And we're glad to be able to stay home for a weekend."

Competition begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday at the arena, located about two miles west of Laramie on Highway 230. Each day will feature about 5-6 hours of riding. There is no admission charge.

Heading into its final regular-season event, UW sits second in the IHSA Zone 8, Region 5 standings behind the University of Colorado (CU), with a club-record 11 riders already qualified for the regional championships next month in Boulder, Colo.

The club, near extinction with just three riders but a few years ago, has grown to more than 30 riders since Randle-Bright volunteered to assume coaching duties in 2006. Among this season's standouts are Jessica Ford (Casper), Katie Hurrell (Golden, Colo.), McCabe Jones (Dillon, Colo.), Bea Sanders (Castle Rock, Colo.) and Brittany Unrein (Littleton, Colo.).

"My kids have been riding better than ever this season," Randle-Bright says.

CU, Colby (Kan.) Community College, Colorado College, Laramie County Community College, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture and the University of Nebraska will join UW at this weekend's competition.

The Wyoming Horse Council, whose mission is to promote and protect the Wyoming equine industry, will operate a concession stand on both days of the event.

Founded in 1967, the IHSA includes more than 375 member institutions and 8,000 riders across the United States and Canada.

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