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The SCAD equestrian team has proven once again that it is one of the top college equestrian programs in the country. With strong performances by all riders, SCAD equestrian was named overall regional team champion and will compete in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone 5 Championship April 6, in Brooklet, Georgia.
In addition to team honors, rider Michael Kocher (B.F.A. sound design student), an early favorite, racked up points with first- and second-place wins as regional champion in open equitation on the flat, and reserve regional champion over fences, automatically earning the chance to ride for the Cacchione Cup at the IHSA National Championship. The show is slated for May 2-5, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Only 41 riders have held the IHSA's top honor for open hunt-seat riders since the cup's creation in 1972, and SCAD is the only Georgia college to have produced a Cacchione Cup winner, with alumna Kels Bonham (B.A., equestrian studies, 2012) taking the prize in 2012.
As the top riders in their divisions, Kocher; Devon Walther (B.A. equestrian studies student), regional champion, intermediate on the flat; Madison Haradon (B.F.A. fashion student), regional champion, novice on the flat; and Hannah Friedman (B.F.A. accessory design student), regional champion, walk/trot/canter; will also advance to the zone competition to vie for individual spots at nationals.
Dozens of riders from SCAD and colleges across Florida converged at SCAD's Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center for a weekend of competition March 2-3, which included Saturday's final IHSA show of the season and Sunday's regional competition.
Despite days of heavy rain and less-than-desirable practice conditions, SCAD equestrian showed well Saturday, finishing strongly in the novice, intermediate and advanced divisions to place fourth in a field of 12, behind teams from University of Central Florida, University of Florida and Florida State University. SCAD had placed first or second in each of the nine regional IHSA competitions this season.
Saturday's perseverance paid off Sunday, with the sun breaking through and horses and riders settling in for a tough competition. In addition to Kocher, Walther, Haradon and Friedman, SCAD riders placing individually in regional competition include
SCAD equestrian coach Ashley Kelly has coached her team to consecutive IHSA Regional Championships and Zone Reserve Championships (2nd place), qualifying SCAD to compete at the IHSA National Championship as a team for two years in a row. The team placed 4th in 2011 and 6th in the nation in 2012.
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors.