News
May 27, 2017
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
The annual Avenue of Flags May 29 at RP Community Center SSU commencement; one for the history books Problem reaching AT&T last weekend? During Rohnert Park City Council meeting protestors unexpectedly take center stage Vehicle pursuit ends with arrest of 14-year-old Ex RP public safety officer pleads no contest to sex offenses Rancho 2017 top 20 Great turnout for RPPSOA pancake breakfast to help Project Grad Gabriella stole the show Town Hall meeting Sheriff's office releases details on SSU officer involved shooting A true celebration of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ Project Grad help in full swing Richard Crane Elementary School Suspect arrested after evading a Cotati Peace Officer Emiri Nomura awarded scholarship Shopping carts ran amok in Cotati last Saturday Ricardo Oliva receives ‘Coach of the year’ for the Northern District Sonoma State University equestrians jump with joy on their way to Kentucky Double Decker Lanes hosts the QubicaAMF Boys and Girl Club employee arrested for child endangerment Armed suspect arrested after resistance RP girl accosted while walking to school And they're off. . . Community quickly rallies for Project Grad Cotati opposes SB 618 Rohnert Park City Council to host Town Hall meeting on May 3 Graton Tribe makes good on payments Auto burglar arrested by Cotati Police A bit of Uganda A mission to help RP to replace old trees Engineering with Legos at the Ray Miller Community room Bunkers at Foxtail set for repairs RP man arrested for attempted murder CRPUSD OKs two contracts Credo gets used to new digs at SMV Golf Course Drive Crossing concerns may delay SMART train ‘Quiet Zones’ Man busted for DUI after crashing into tree in RP New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser A traditional dance of Japan Shameful time in history RP rejects new self-storage facilities Survey Says: Rohnert Park Residents Love City, but not Traffic Council amends UDSP Body of missing woman found RAFD names part-time fire chief KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction Missing Penngrove woman's body found in Marin County Bunfest was hopping with bunny lovers Nonn expected to sue CRPUSD Credo crew marches to new home Cotati delays vote on Valparaiso The Voice enters into 25th year Cotati-reviews midyear budget Two RP Parks getting upgrades A new look for SSU gym RP man reported missing Padre Town Center changes hands Sonoma County to take a look at immigration issue Bomb scare closes RCHS Local Tech High student chosen for Scholars program RP to conduct survey Man arrested after high-speed chase through 3 cities RP makes changes to city code for ADUs Man gets 11 years in prison for RP knife attack Man who led chase into SF caught Treasurer for Rancho Cotate High Project Grad Arrested for Embezzlement A crab feast at Community Center Taking a pie in her grill RP man busted for possession of meth Cotati OKs water, sewer rate study RP votes to regulate vaping CRPUSD schools now a safe haven for immigrant students RP adds seven to public safety Cotati votes to host shopping cart race Man arrested for attempted murder Defibrillators proving to be invaluable assets Artists ready for art show at library Reilani Peleti Corrections Suspected explosive device at RCHS Seventh-graders in local schools to be taught CPR Voice issues apology to school board, superintendent RP man arrested on drug possession charges

Saddle Up and Ride

  • The three riders who are representing the Sonoma State University equestrian team at this weekend's Zone 8 competition at Stanford are, top left, Nicole Luters, Suzie Littlewood, top right, and Taylor Lesser, bottom left. Photos by Emily Fedorko and Courtney Debrunner

By: Dave Williams
April 7, 2017
SSU sending three English style riders to equestrian competition at Stanford

Sonoma State University’s equestrian team knows it will be a decided underdog this weekend at the Zone 8 competition at Stanford. But after watching Mississippi State end the University of Connecticut women’s 111-game basketball win streak, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

“We compete against Stanford, Davis, Berkeley and Cal Poly,” said Holly Hay, the SSU equestrian team’s publicity officer. “We compete against high caliber schools that get a lot of funding, that get horses donated to them all the time.”

The three riders competing for SSU at Stanford are Taylor Lesser, Nicole Luters and Suzie Littlewood. Two other SSU riders, Caitlin Filby and Emily Pattison competed in a competition in New York a couple of weekends ago.

The equestrian industry is a major part of the Sonoma County economy, and SSU has gotten plenty of help from locals.

“The funding we get is usually through smaller amounts from local contributors, people who know our trainers or people who know members of our team,” Hay said. “We have gotten a lot of donations this year, which has been really awesome. We’re trying to put the word out that we’re here because a lot of people don’t know about us.”

SSU pretty much relies on two people to amass their horses – Carrie Hover and Peter Larson, who trains the SSU riders in the Western style of riding. 

“Carrie buys horses she wants us to ride because she wants to improve the team” Hay said. “She’s invested in it herself. She does a lot for our team. Peter does the same thing. Basically, they’re just looking out for us and team.”

Any SSU student interested horse riding, no matter the level of skill, is welcome. The only requirement is the willingness to put in the effort. That includes attending meetings, mixers and fundraisers as well as plenty of community volunteer work.

Hay said Hover does an excellent job of matching horses to the riders, considering their experience. Hover usually gets experienced horses or looks for some that are partially trained and possess the skill set to ensure safe rides.

“We have certain horses that are easier and safe to ride for people who aren’t used to horses and haven’t ridden before,” Hay said. “Basically, just slower, easy going horses that never spook. Our horses don’t really spook but they’re animals so you have to be ready for anything. She puts us on horses she feels is on our level. She’s been riding since she was super young. Once she feels you have more skills she’ll put you on a different horse.”

The three who’ll compete at Stanford this weekend will be riding English style, which involves jumping. There are several variations to this style but all feature a flat English saddle without the deep seat, high cantle or saddle horn seen on a Western saddle. At the most basic level, most versions require riders to use both hands on the reins, rather than just one hand seen in Western riding.

Also, in English riding, a judge tells a rider what to do and the rider and horse must execute it. Western riding in competition is such where there is an established pattern the horse and rider must perform.

The last chance to see the SSU team locally this school year is April 30, where they’ll perform in a schooling show at the Santa Rosa Equestrian Center. It’s a hunter-jumper show.