Saugus Freshman Places In National Equestrian Competition
Victoria Bauer wins 8th place in Pony Medal Competition
Who would have thought that a 13 year old girl and her “backyard mutt” pony would travel to Kentucky and place at the biggest pony competition in the nation? Victoria Bauer, a Santa Clarita resident, made her dream come true when she and her mustang pony “Dream Catcher”, or “Dreamy” as he is called, rode for the United States Equestrian Foundation’s Pony Medal.
In 2005, Victoria and Dreamy won the Los Angeles Pony Medal title, and qualified for the nationals in Lexington, Kentucky. After much fundraising, the two were off to Kentucky to jump a 2.6 foot jump course. Out of 209 riders, Bauer, the only rider from California, finished 8th place.
“It was a blast to be able to go to Kentucky, and to be on my pony was just wonderful,” says Bauer.
Since then, Dreamy has retired, and Victoria is still competing, now on her new warmblood, Beowulf. She now competes in the Los Angeles Interscholastic Equestrian League Competitions, which, in short, is a non-profit organization that holds 4 shows a year for local riders. All 6 Santa Clarita High Schools currently have a team, and are doing well. And while West Ranch has the largest team with 12 riders, Saugus holds second largest with 10 competitors.
Each rider is assigned to one of four levels: Novice, Freshman, Jr. Varsity, and Varsity, with the choice of riding dressage, hunter jumper, and equestrian.
Dressage is a form of riding in which the horses are trained to respond to slight movements of the riders. Each competition requires a series of tests, in which the rider demands the assigned action from the horse, using their body as a cue.
Possibly the most popular out of all three categories is the hunter jumper section. In this competition, the rider must complete the course, which is filled with different types of jumps. There are many different levels, all according to the height of the jump. While hunters work towards clearing the jumps and keeping the time short, show jumpers are judged on the style and manner in which the horse and rider attempt and clear the jumps.
The last section of the horseback riding competition is equestrian. In this section, riders are asked to walk, trot or canter their horses while keeping their form in mind. Ideal qualities are having hands together, heels down, back straight, and head up.
Bauer placed 10th in the Jr. Varsity Metal Standings, and earned her team, Saugus High, more points towards the high point team award. The scores from 2 of the 4 shows have been tallied, and both Saugus and West Ranch did very well. West Ranch was named as the Freshman Reserve Champion, while Saugus took 8th place in the Novice division. Jacky Park, from West Ranch High, won 1st place in her Hunter Jumper class, and placed 1st in the Freshman Metal Standings.
Victoria and Beowulf are still in training, trying to get more experience, or “show miles” in horse terms, and eventually might travel to Syracuse New York in 2008 or 2009 for the ASPCA Maclay National Championship.
Victoria’s mother, Shannon Bauer said that horseback riding is not only a fun sport, but also very beneficial. “Equine riding is very challenging, but I don’t think people understand how difficult it really is. It requires physical and mental effort, and makes the rider use both sides of their brain. Colleges are viewing applicants who are equestrians in a different light nowadays, because they have shown to be more social and balanced.”
Shannon Bauer also said that equine riding seems to be forgotten in Santa Clarita. “I don’t think people know that there are so many equestrians in this valley, many think it’s just a pleasure hobby, but it’s a real sport. It should be more well-known, after all our own city was founded on horseback…”