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Michael Kocher named Reserve National Champion in open flat

Published 10:00am Friday, May 10, 2013

Thirty-eight riders participate in a two-phase competition while being judged on all aspects of general riding principles. The judges measure the rider’s balance, form, posture and overall dynamics, during the different competitions. “On the flat” is a combination of walk, trot and canter. “Over fences,” is where riders navigate around a predetermined course while jumping over a series of fences. Kocher has been described as having great communication skills with his horse while maintaining a relaxed mental disposition. Lindsay Baker, a SCAD sophomore was the national champion in intermediate-fences.

Kocher carries a full load of classes even while rising early in the morning for weekly riding lessons that begin at 6 a.m., riding again in the afternoons and attending weekly riding sessions with his teammates.

The IHSA’s Cacchione Cup was the brain child of Robert E. Cacchione and was established 1967. The national event is an intercollegiate equestrian competition with the mission to provide all students the chance to compete on a college equestrian team, regardless of their riding ability or financial situation. The riders must also perform for the first time on horses that they have never ridden before, forcing the rider to quickly understand their horse’s unique behavior and temperament. The horses are donated to the competition by host stables, other teams and coaches.

The IHSA involves more than 400 colleges and universities throughout the United States and parts of Canada. With more than 8,900 active riders, and like the Olympics, the IHSA competition allows both young men and women the opportunity to compete on an equal and level playing field.

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