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Mount Saint Charles Trots Out New Equestrian Program

Partners with Prospect Hill Farm to offer a varsity riding team starting fall 2018

Woonsocket – Horse-loving students at Mount Saint Charles Academy get their own team this fall when the school and Prospect Hill Farm in Lincoln partner to launch one of the first high school riding programs in Rhode Island.

Mount Saint Charles students will train, learn, compete and earn varsity letters through the new riding team, which will be coached by Prospect Hill owner Alicia Cugini. The team is open to riders of all abilities – even novices with little or no experience on horseback – and students don’t have to own a horse to participate. Riders will compete in Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) events at the regional, zone, and national levels.

“We’ll take every student who wants to ride. We’ll do tryouts just to determine what level they ride at, but we’ll take anyone who’s interested,” Cugini said. “They may not show in competitions until they reach the right ability level, but they can still compete through the written tests in the horsemanship part of the competitions.”

IEA events include individual and team competitions. Although riding is often perceived as an individual sport, Cugini said the program will stress team dynamics.

“Riding is an individualized sport because so much of it is between you and the horse. But this will be a team-oriented program. I really believe in the team spirit, and we’re going to have team dinners, practices apparel... anything you’d expect from any other high school team,” she said.

Her priorities echo those of Mount Saint Charles President Alan Tenreiro, who developed the idea for the team when he noticed how many students were interested in horseback riding.

“A lot of the kids were already riding on their own. We want to give them a chance to get together as a team and earn the same kind of recognition athletes in other sports do,” he said.

The Mount Saint Charles team will be one of only two high school equestrian teams in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Students will train for two hours twice a week with Cugini at Prospect Hill. The school will pay for IEA membership and regular season show fees. Students are responsible for training fees and personal equipment like helmets.

The equestrian program begins in the fall of 2018. For more information, contact the Mount Saint Charles Athletic Department at (401) 769-0310.