Last week, while other BC students traipsed around the mods in celebration of the last pre-finals weekend, Grace Tregidgo, MCAS ‘18, was across the Atlantic, competing in a Student Rider League show in Poland. One out of three competitive horseback riders representing the United States, Tregidgo competed against riders from 15 other countries, and helped the American team secure the 8th overall ranking.
Tregidgo hails from New York City and has been horseback riding since she was 18 months old. Living in the city, she grew up riding in North Salem, New York, which is where she has kept her horse, Joey, since buying him her junior year of high school. She did most of her competing in northeastern states like Vermont, Massachusetts and New York, since she was “fortunate enough to live in the Northeast. A lot of competitive riders end up spending a lot of time in Florida,” she explained.
Since coming to BC, her horseback riding career has flourished. She joined the BC Club Equestrian Team as a freshman—a group of 27 student riders. The team practices roughly once a week out of a stable in Grafton, MA, and competes in a circuit with 14 other schools, such as BU, Stonehill, and Tufts.
At each show the riders compete for both individual and team points, with riders competing in a diverse range of events and divisions; Tregidgo competes in the highest division for show jumping, which is the Open Division. At each show their coach appoints a “point rider,” whose individual points are made part of the team’s score. Teams who win their regional competitions then move onto zoned competitions and nationals. BC advanced to zones last year—a huge accomplishment for any collegiate team.
Tregidgo's endeavors in Poland and involvement with the Student Rider League show is completely independent from her riding at BC. As stated earlier, the league is comprised of 15 nations including the United States, most of which are European nations. Riders wishing to represent the US send in an application, comprised of videos and pictures of them on horseback, as well as a written application.
Three riders are then chosen for each show and there are multiple competitions throughout a given year. Tregidgo was chosen to participate in the show in Poland, along with two other Americans, Jessica Fowl and Rebecca Chesney. The trio spent five days in Poland, and spent the vast majority of that time riding.
The show consisted of two events, dressage and show jumping. For each event, competitors were split into groups of three. All three riders would ride the same horse for the event, and the top scorer in each group would move onto the next round. In dressage, Tregidgo was grouped with a rider from Spain and a rider from Ireland, and the rider from Spain moved onto the next round.
No American made it past the first round of dressage. The next day however, was show jumping, which Tregidgo explained is a much stronger event for the US, and in that event she advanced to the second round.
Her first international horseback riding show was impressively successful, and “so much fun.” Now, Tregidgo, an International Studies major and Environmental Studies minor, is back on campus, studying for finals and looking ahead to her next year riding at BC.
She explained that the team, which rides in the English discipline, is going to try to branch into the Western discipline next year. “Western is a different saddle, different way of sitting on the horse—different everything,” Tregidgo explains. While she thinks it would be interesting to learn, she’s sticking to her English roots—they have certainly served her well so far.