Two NDSU Western team riders earn nat’l titles |

Two NDSU Western team riders earn nat’l titles

Two members of North Dakota State University’s Western equestrian team have earned national titles.

Hailey Aagard, a junior from Wadena, Minn., was named the 2014 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association’s national champion in beginner horsemanship at the ISHA National Championships held in Harrisburg, Pa., May 1-4.

Janna Rice, a junior from Maddock, was named 2014 IHSA reserve national champion in advanced horsemanship.

“As a coach, I couldn’t be more proud of Janna and Hailey,” says Tara Swanson, the team’s coach. “They have been working hard all year in preparation for the opportunity to compete at nationals. Both of them rode with poise, confidence, determination and skill, which resulted in a very positive outcome.”

Rice and Aagard advanced to the national competition by placing among the top four riders at semifinal competition hosted by West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas, March 29-30.

Two other NDSU riders also competed in semifinal competition. They were Ashley Lindell, a senior from Soloway, Minn., and Cami Slaubaugh, a junior from Wolford. Lindell finished with an honorable mention in reining and a seventh-place finish in open horsemanship. Slaubaugh finished seventh in intermediate horsemanship.

These four riders earned the opportunity to compete at one of the three semifinals held throughout the U.S. by finishing as champion or reserve champion at the Zone 7 Region 3 regional championships hosted by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on March 2.

Other NDSU riders competing in regional competition were: Nicole Holasek, a senior from Waconia, Minn.; Karley Schaefer, a sophomore from West Fargo; Emily Norwig, a junior from Hastings, Minn.; Hannah Bucheger, a sophomore from Andover, Minn.; and Blaine Novak, a junior from Fordville.

The NDSU Western equestrian team ended the 2013-2014 regular season with high honors; it was named the Zone 7 Region 3 reserve high point team. The equestrian team consisted of 26 members.

“We had a fairly inexperienced team this year, but each one of the team members stepped up to take on a position within the team, which helped us to achieve this high honor,” Swanson says.

The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, which is the organization NDSU competes in, consists of a little more than 400 teams, with more than 8,300 riders, across the U.S. and Canada. The organization offers eight levels of hunter seat riding and six levels of Western riding.

–North Dakota State University