For equestrian rider Garcia, hard work pays off

Caitlin Garcia competing at IHSA semifinals for Equestrian team in Findlay, Ohio March 15-17.
(Photo Credit: Brianna Garcia)

The spring semester for the Laramie County Community College Equestrian team ended with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association semifinals in Findlay, Ohio.

Sophomore Caitlin Garcia and coach Lanae McDonald traveled to Ohio to compete in IHSA semifinals, representing LCCC.

“It was rewarding being able to take a sophomore that’s worked hard for two years to compete at that level,” McDonald said. “We’d made our goal of just being able to show in semifinals. I was very excited that we had made our goal.”

In order to make it to show at that level, a rider must earn points while showing all season and placing in those shows.

Caitlin Garcia and Lanae McDonald stand in the photo place with Garcia’s award for semifinals in Findlay, Ohio March 15-17.
(Photo Credit: Brianna Garcia)

The difference between normal shows throughout the season and semifinals is how many people are showing. At other shows during the season, each team shows against only a couple surrounding states and colleges.

For LCCC, those teams were from Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and of course, the University of Wyoming.

In IHSA semifinals, there are three regions across the nation that host the semi-finals for different colleges. The three states for the 2018-19 year were Utah, Ohio and Florida. Each division from seasonal shows are brought into the semifinals.

There are 16 individuals that qualify for semifinals in a division and from those 16 riders, eight riders are pulled back to the final class. The top four from the class of eight go on to nationals, which is in New York this year.

“We compete with colleges and universities across the country at this time when we go to semifinals. So, the fact that she made finals is a really big deal because she is one of the top  24 novice riders in the nation,” McDonald said. “She rode really smart and really strong, I would say through both her classes and at that level of competition, you can’t be upset.”

Garcia made the final Novice class and placed eighth out of the sixteen riders who traveled to Ohio.

“Plans for next year is to just keep recruiting and working on our new students for next year and we still have some big events coming up this spring that my riders will still be helping with,” McDonald said. “The Wyoming State FFA judging contest and all kinds of stuff they’ll still be helping with and so we’re still doing stuff just not within IHSA. We’re looking forward to recruiting and working on things for next year.”

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