Eastern Mary­land eques­trian team to com­pete at Congress

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — For the fourth year in a row, the Eastern Mary­land Eques­trian As­so­ci­a­tion is field­ing an eques­trian team to com­pete in the Na­tional Youth Ac­tiv­ity Team Tour­na­ment, as part of the 50th an­niver­sary of the All-Amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse Congress, the largest sin­gle breed horse show in the world, held each year in Colum­bus, Ohio. The event be­gan is 1967 as a three-day horse show in Colum­bus, spon­sored and hosted by the Ohio Quar­ter Horse As­so­ci­a­tion.

It was so suc­cess­ful, it has grown over the years, and now spans three and half weeks dur­ing the month of Oc­to­ber. It be­gins on Oct. 6 and will con­clude Oct. 30, with com­pe­ti­tions ev­ery­day in a huge num­ber of cat­e­gories.

The week­end of Oct. 23, the EMEA team of Ariah Lusk, Rachel Grabowski and sis­ters Pey­ton and Rylee Ridgely will rep­re­sent the Mid-Shore area. Pey­ton leads the team as a na­tion­ally rec­og­nize bar­rel racer, last year, earn­ing Re­serve Cham­pion in the NYATT com­pe­ti­tion, and be­com­ing the first mem­ber of the team to ever score in the highly com­pet­i­tive com­pe­ti­tion. She was beat out for as cham­pion in the event by 4/100ths of a sec­ond. How­ever, with her plac­ing, she earned 14 points for the team, which placed 19th over­all out of more than 60 teams com­pet­ing from around the na­tion.

“The next goal is for our team to medal,” said team ad­vi­sor Karen Mar x of Cen­tre­ville. “It takes a team ef­fort to do that. Pey­ton can’t medal as a team by her­self, and that’s what we have our sights set on.” The top 15 teams in NYATT re­ceive medals at the clos­ing cer­e­mony.

The last time a team from Mary­land medaled in NYATT was 1995, 21 years ago. It was the Mary­land State Quar­ter Horse Youth As­so­ci­a­tion team, led by former team ad­vi­sor Mar­garet Zasier, of Cen­tral Mary­land.

“We placed 6th over­all that year,” Zasier said, “the high­est plac­ing a Mary­land team ever had. They were a pretty good group of kids. They knew what to do. You didn’t have to get af­ter them to do what they were sup­pose to do to get ready. They just did it!”

Zasier still has the team tro­phy they were pre­sented in her home.

All four EMEA girls have com­peted at Congress be­fore, so they know what to ex­pect. All have com­peted at re­gional and lo­cal Quar­ter horse shows this year in ef­fort to get ready for this na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. Rachel Grabowski won sev­eral Cir­cuit cham­pi­onship awards at both New Jersey and Up­per Marl­boro shows. Ariah Lusk won Novice Youth Horse­man­ship in New Jersey, and her horse, “AOK Think Mr. Peters” was Grand Cham­pion Model Horse dur­ing the re­cent Queen Anne’s County Fair among 40 horses en­tered, and she won the Sr. 4-H Trail class.

Marx said, “Be­ing the 50th an­niver­sary Congress show, I’m re­ally ex­cited we’re go­ing. Our team will rep­re­sent our area well.”

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