Wellington, FL – January 22, 2013 – The College Preparatory Invitational (CPI) hosted its third year of competition this weekend at the nationally renown Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Over 150 riders from across the country participated in four (4) levels of hunt seat competition, along with three (3) levels of dressage.
The College Preparatory Invitational (CPI) offers riders grades 8-12 exposure to collegiate level equestrian competition as well as the opportunity to be recruited by the nation’s top colleges and universities offering equestrian programs. Additionally, CPI awarded five (5) scholarships totaling $8,000.
More than 38 colleges and universities were exceptionally pleased with the College Expo, presented by Practical Horseman Magazine, which allowed them to discuss both athletic and academic programs offered at their schools with riders in attendance. Many received record numbers of student response cards and are eager to return next year.
One of the major sponsors, The University of Findlay, returned to the CPI for its second consecutive year. Stella Prescott, Head coach for IHSA Team and Director of Hunter Jumper emphasis in Equine Studies, stated, “It was a success for us. The event definitely had grown since last year, in terms of college and student participation.”
Prescott continued, “The CPI is a great way to have a target audience for the colleges as well as the riders. I don’t believe there is another model out there that matches students the higher level education platforms with an emphasis on equestrian involvement. CPI is definitely something we will continue to participate in both as a participant and as a sponsor.”
Moreover, Prescott mentioned that The University of Findlay is looking to supplement CPI’s string of horses for competition by iending ten (10) of their own intercollegiate horses to next year’s CPI. “It’s a good opportunity for Findlay and other colleges to showcase our horses. They are an enormous part of our teaching staff and program.”
Charles Owen, another generous sponsor, allowed the CPI to double scholarship money for High Point Rider Scholarships in 2013. This year, $2,000 was awarded to the High Point Hunt Seat Rider and to the High Point Dressage Seat Equitation Rider. Reserve High Point Rider honors were also rewarded in dressage and hunt seat. Reserve winners received a Dover Saddlery gift certificate.
Roy Burek, Managing Director of Charles Owen & Co., stated, “I was impressed with the riders competing at CPI. It’s encouraging that so many young people are blending their equestrian passion with the pursuit of higher education. Charles Owen is proud to support the CPI event, which provides essential college information to prospective students. We are also delighted to help fund the High Point Rider Scholarships as a way to assist these riders who display exceptional commitment and talent.”
High Point Hunt Seat Rider was Brianne Link, of East Islip, NY, class of 2016. The ninth- grader described her first experience with the collegiate format as eye-opening. “I show at WEF [the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival] and I’m used to always being on the same horse. Here, you jump two jumps and go into the ring. You’ve just got to do your
best,” Link stated.
Link looks forward to coming back next year in hopes of winning more scholarship money. “I want to come back with the hope of garnering more offers from colleges, to be able to look at them and see what’s the best fit for me,” Link explained.
Reserve High Point Hunt Seat Rider was Jessica Hall, of Verona, NJ, class of 2014. “The CPI was amazing. There were some challenging horses, but everyone rode well and it was a great opportunity to ride with a lot of great riders,” Hall stated. “I got a lot of good advice [from judges and coaches] about what they look for when you ride.”
Ashley Guidry, of Elkhorn, WI, class of 2013, was awarded High Point Dressage Rider. Guidry felt she gained priceless insight into the world of collegiate equestrian competition and the opportunities an equine career could offer her. “I learned so much about the colleges and different organizations, like NCAA versus regular club organizations. It was a great experience. I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do yet, so this definitely helped my decision-making process,” Guidry stated. “SCAD [Savannah College of Art and Design] talked about the equine business management programs and what doors it would open for me, so I’m starting to lean towards that idea. Without coming here, I would have never known about this opportunity.”
Guidry was particularly eager to gain hands-on knowledge about her higher education options. “It’s hard to find this information just online. Being able to personally talk to people was the best experience. I really know what it’s going to take and what I have to do to get into the colleges I want, to get onto the teams I want, and to pursue a career,” she continued.
Reserve High Point Dressage Rider was Clare Burke, class of 2013, of Rolling Hills Estates, CA. Burke was excited to receive feedback from judges and to meet with college programs. “The judge (Lauren Sammis) gave me good pointers, like keep my toes in and using balance,” Burke stated. “Getting to meet the coaches and seeing their programs, seeing what they have and what opportunities they present is definitely helping me in my decision-making process,” she continued.
Riders were also recognized for academic excellence and community involvement. The CPI Essay Contest awards $1,500 to the winning essay. Cassie Crotty, class of 2015, of Coral Gables, FL, won the contest for the second year in a row.
“I just like to write. I wrote about where you would want to live. I wrote about this dream idea I have about out West with lots of land and horses galloping,” Crotty explained.
“I never really thought about the riding in college thing, even though my coach, Karen Flynn, is the coach at UM [University of Miami]. I never really thought about it until this whole event happened,” Crotty continued.
The CPI Champion of Services Award recognizes the rider with the highest number of community service hours served prior to the competition. Eleventh grader Alexandra
Adams, of Jacksonville, FL, was awarded $1,500 for her commitment to community involvement. Adams completed the majority of her hours volunteering with therapeutic riding programs as well as helping out at horse shows for the University of North Florida equestrian team.
Adams also enthusiastically praised the CPI for a comprehensive educational experience. “I absolutely loved it! I think it’s a great program and a really good experience going into
college. It sets us up for a good future in college,” Adams described.
The CPI also encourages excellence in horsemanship skills by offering the Written Horsemanship Test Award. $1,000 is awarded to the rider with the highest score on the test. Chloe Hatch, class of 2014, of Vero Beach, FL, took home this year’s prize.
Hatch has always been an avid reader of equine material and feels that her passion gave her a leg up in the competition. “I took the test last year, so I knew what to expect. But I read a lot! Anything pertaining to horses or riding, I read,” Hatch explained.
Hatch hopes to return next year to the CPI for the opportunity to compete in dressage equitation classes again. “I got some good detail on what’s expected [from judges]. Just learning that, and getting to do the group class, was a really good experience,” Hatch stated. “You don’t see a lot of equitation at dressage shows, so it’s definitely a different experience.”
Two Sportsmanship Awards were presented to riders that showed a good attitude and appreciation of the sport and horses. They were given to Michelle-Darlene Miles of Toney, AL, Class of 2014, and Kate Rawlinson of Lincoln, NE, Class of 2014. The CPI also offers photography awards for images captured throughout the three days of the show. Eight categories will award $100 each to the winning student photographer. Results will be announced soon once all entries have been submitted
The scholarships offered by the CPI would not be made possible without the help of generous sponsors. CPI would like to thank all of its 2013 contributing sponsors, including: Alfred University, Centenary College, Charles Owen, CWD, Dietrich Insurance, Dover Saddlery, Dyer Equestrian, EQUUS Foundation, FootingFirst, LLC, Mississippi College, Practical Horseman Magazine, Purina, Randolph College, The Clothes Horse, The University of Findlay, and the USHJA Foundation.
For more information on how to become a sponsor or to donate to this program, visit www.CollegePrepInvitational.com or follow this link to the CPI Scholarship Fund page.
About the College Preparatory Invitational
The mission of the CPI is to prepare and educate student riders in grades 8 – 12 about the format of college equestrian competition, encourage academics and horsemanship, and to provide the riders with resources to create their desired college equestrian experience. The show is specifically geared to promote college recruitment of equestrians by providing the opportunity for coaches and potential students to meet in person. The College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show is rooted in the belief that equestrian talent, not finances, should dictate a rider’s opportunity to be a part of a collegiate team.
Along with the competition, the CPI offers seminars and question & answer sessions during the show. Riders and their families heard about the college equestrian experience and familiarized themselves with the different associations that govern collegiate riding. There were also a number or College and Universities present at the CPI to distribute literature and introduce the academic and riding opportunities, including scholarships, offered at their respective institutions.
For more information, please visit www.CollegePrepInvitational.com or visit their Facebook page.