Equestrian Team Advances to Nationals: First-Year Standout Qualifies Team for First Time in Years


The Colgate Eastern Equestrian team finished out their successful season this past weekend with one member of the team, Thea Chafee, qualifying for the IHSA Nationals this May.

Lindsey Madnick

The Colgate Eastern Equestrian team has had an exceptionally successful year thus far, with first-year standout Thea Chafee particularly having an accomplished season. The Colgate Eastern Equestrian team is a member of Zone II Region III of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and currently has 17 members. Colgate University is among other New York schools in the Zone II Region III league, including: Union College, SUNY Albany, Siena College, Morrisville State, and Skidmore, to name a few.  

The team is coached by Anna Hackney and holds practices twice a week at Saddleback Farm in Hamilton, NY. They show eight times a year, competing againt IHSA and Division I teams at different locations, including Hartwick College, Morrisville State College and Skidmore College. In each competition the team  participates in, numerous riders are entered into different divisions, which vary based on experience and skill level. These divisions include walk-trot, walk-trot-canter, novice, intermediate and open. As riders continue to improve and accrue points in each division in different competitions, they have the opportunity to ascend from one division to the next.

On Saturday, April 1, Colgate first-year Thea Chafee became the reserve regional champion in open fences and regional champion in open flat. From there, she went on to compete in Zones, which were also at Skidmore. Chafee proceeded to win Zone II Open Equitation Over Fences. She also received third place in the flat. Every region sends two individual riders and one team to their Zone Championships to qualify for Nationals. At Zones, the top two individual and top teams then move on to Nationals. Chafee’s success in the Open Equitation Over Fences at Zones have qualified her for IHSA Nationals. Due to her outstanding performances in these competitions, Chafee will compete from May 4 to 7 at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky for Nationals.

“It’s been such an honor to ride on the Colgate Equestrian team and I’m so excited to be able to represent Colgate at nationals this year. This team has meant so much to me and I can’t wait for what’s to come next year and to hopefully add some new teammates,” Chafee said about her first season on the team.

Chafee is the first rider for the Colgate University equestrian team to qualify for IHSA Nationals since 2012. Sophomore captain Annie Mayer commented on her teammate’s incredible work ethic.

“We’re really excited for her. She’s worked so hard this whole season, and she truly deserves to be there. We can’t wait to watch her on the livestream,” Mayer said.

To follow up with the Colgate equestrian team, all rides and performances are posted on youtube.com/colgateequestrian.