TOWSON, Md. — The way Ashley Bent (Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville Area) is preparing to compete at the upcoming IHSA National Horse Show in West Springfield, Mass. is considerably different than they way the other riders who will be representing Goucher at the event have been.
While her teammates who will be involved in the Collegiate Cup Hunter Seat competition continue to train under the watchful eyes of head coach Jen Bunty and her staff, Bent has spent hours and hours "cramming" for a test. That's because she's a finalist in the 2015 Teresa L. McDonald IHSA Scholarship Challenge sponsored by EQUUS.
The Teresa L. McDonald Scholarship Challenge is a test on horsemanship and related topics open to IHSA undergraduate members. The first step was an on-line timed test of 50 questions on topics such as anatomy, bandaging, conditioning, first aid, handling, horse health, horse identification, nutrition, pasture management, shipping, shoeing and stable management.
The two riders in each of the eight IHSA zones with the highest scores on the on-line exam have been invited to the National Horse Show for a final practicum phase on May 2. Bent, who is majoring in Spanish and business and maintains a 3.83 grade point average, is one of the Zone IV representatives; the other is Amanda Arnold from Averett.
A $1,500 scholarship and perpetual trophy go to the eventual winner.
"Jen (Bunty) really encouraged us to take the on-line test," according to Bent. "The best thing about winning the competition would be the recognition that it would bring to Goucher's riding program."
Bent said the information she is learning could also be put to use in the future.
"I know I would like to continue riding once I graduate," she said. "Although nothing full-time, I may consider doing something along the line of working with horses on the side."
Patte Zumbrun, who was the director and head coach of Goucher's riding program from 1987 until she retired at the conclusion of the 2012-13 academic year and was recently inducted into the Goucher College Athletics Hall of Fame, serves as the chair of the IHSA edcuation committee.