Junior Alexandra (Ally) Vaughn accomplished just that when Culver Academies hosted a jumping competition on Saturday, Jan. 17. Vaughn, who has been riding since she was 11, took the Varsity Open Equitation over 2-feet, 6-inches, the Varsity Open Equitation on the flat, and Varsity Open Championship Class.
The Championship Medal Class was available to just the top 20 riders at the event. The selection of those riders was determined by points and places within the show.
Culver has a stable of 20 horses that are used for jumping competitions and co-host Cedar Creek of Fort Wayne, Ind., also brought horses. Competitors and horses are matched up through a blind draw. Vaughn said she was “lucky to draw” Culver horses for three of her rides (the fourth horse was from Cedar Creek).
Still, she admits, having 20 horses in the jumping competition doesn’t give Culver riders that great of an edge.
“Miss P (coach Elizabeth Puskas) has a program set up so that you are riding a different horse at every practice,” Vaughn explained. That way it simulates the “out-of-blue” feel of the competitions.
Culver riders are also responsible for “schooling” the horses in preparation for every show. That involves warming a horse up on Friday evening and Saturday after a show so that it is less likely to act up and is safer to ride. Riders from the Purdue University team will also come and help with the schooling, she said.
Along with warming up the horses, Culver riders also bathe and clip the horses so they are ready for the shows. It takes extra time, Vaughn said, but “we want the horses to look their best on show days.”
Along with the jumping competition, Vaughn is a member of the CGA varsity polo team. She has three horses at home in Canal Fulton, Ohio, but only rides flats during the summer.