The following was provided by Valerie Overton, on behalf of the Lexington Equestrian Team.
While most of us stayed warm at home after the blizzard last Sunday, members of the Lexington Equestrian Team rose before dawn and braved two and three feet of snow to compete in the final Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) horse show of the regular season. Hard work and determination paid off: Five members of the team qualified for regional competitions.
The Lexington Equestrian Team trains at Four Fillies Farm here in Lexington. Although the team is quite new, this is the fourth year in a row that riders have qualified for IEA Region 2 finals. For the past two years, riders also qualified for “Zones," the step before Nationals.
Even more remarkable, this year the five qualifiers are first years on the team, the youngest members of the middle school division:
- Emily Overton, sixth-grader at Lexington Montessori School
- Allison Pugliese, sixth-grader at Ottoson Middle School (Arlington)
- Cate Swan, sixth-grader at Clarke Middle School
- Isabella Toomey, sixth-grader at Lexington Montessori School
- Sarah Watanabe, sixth-grader at Diamond Middle School
Lexington Equestrian Team Coach Jennifer Balestrieri praises the effort of all team members.
“I am so proud of everyone on the team," said Balestrieri. "They worked hard, rode with heart, and supported each other throughout the season.”
The Lexington Equestrian Team practices every Friday after school during the IEA season (late August through March), and most members take part in optional post-season practices. Middle and high school students are welcome to visit Four Fillies Farm to try out for the team in August. For more information about the team (and regular riding lessons and summer programs), visit www.fourfilliesfarm.com or contact Jennifer Balestrieri.
In the meantime, Lexington Equestrian Team members will compete in IEA Region 2 finals in Westford on Feb. 23 and 24. Only top finishers will qualify for Zones, and then Nationals.
Whether or not our local equestrians qualify for Zones, they are enthusiastic about the experience they have gained from making it this far.
“I’ve learned a lot about showing, horses, and me as a rider,” said team member Emily Overton.