Tufts off to strong start in aim to return to Nationals

Candace Smith, a junior, rides at an Oct. 10 competition held at Northeastern University, where Tufts tied for second place. Courtesy Emilie Bromley

The Tufts equestrian team had a lot to live up to at the start of this year. In the spring of 2015, the Jumbos reached their first Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Nationals in 20 years. This year’s squad, while not concerning itself with the pressure of matching its lofty expectations, is focused on carrying over its success from last year. In its first three shows, Tufts placed first at Worcestor State University on Oct. 3, tied for second at Northeastern on Oct. 10 and placed first again at Brandeis on Oct. 11.

The team has been led in large part by its tri-captains: senior Chase Boggio, junior Emilie Bromley and senior Maris Nyhart. Boggio, the team’s Open Rider, has placed either first or second in all of his divisions so far. Additionally, he received the Reserve High Point Rider in two of the first three shows.

“[Boggio] has been extremely successful, both this year and last year,” Bromley said. “He’s definitely one of the most consistent riders we have, and he’s been a good figure for the whole team to look up to.”

Boggio credits his personal accomplishments and the success of the team as a whole to the morale of the players.

“The morale’s great,” he said. “Our results are a function of that good morale. We’re a very cohesive team; everyone’s really supportive of one another. Even though you’re in the ring by yourself and it’s an individual competition, [equestrian] is very much a team sport.”

Bromley agreed, and credited their positive team dynamics this year to their general commitment to having fun while riding.

“We have a lot of fun,” she said. “We have such a supportive, great atmosphere, but we also have that competitive side. I think everyone’s really excited to be having such a competitive and successful season so far.”

Another important factor in the equestrian team’s success is its partnership with Evermoor Stables, located in Newbury Old Town, Mass.

“Last year we started training with [Evermoor], and we all have come so far since being with them,” Bromley said. “Our trainers really push the team, and they’re really trying so hard to make us the best team we can be. Especially for me; since starting with them, I’ve improved drastically.”

Bromley’s start to the season demonstrates the positive impact of the partnership; she began in the novice class for the first show, winning both of her divisions, before being promoted to the intermediate class, where she is currently placing highly.

The team’s underclassmen have also contributed to the team’s success. Several first-years and sophomores made their IHSA debuts over the first three shows, including sophomore Alex Dorfman and first-years Mari Kurami, Alex True and Emily Peirent. Dorfman, True and Peirent all placed second in their divisions over the weekend.

As a tri-captain, Boggio was pleased to see the underclassmen’s strong starts.

“It’s great to have new members doing so well,” Boggio said. “In each of our first three shows, we’ve tried to play a new member, specifically a new freshman on the team. These underclassmen are performing at a high level already, and it’s great for the future.”

In addition to the potential triumphs of the current underclassmen, Tufts looks forward to Oct. 25, where it will co-host a show with Boston College. The team will look to continue its early success, as the competition will serve as yet another stepping stone to qualify for nationals again.

“We had a really strong season last year [with] a really strong team,” Boggio said. “Because of that, we came into this year with a lot of confidence. In our home show, and moving forward, we’ll carry over that confidence and continue to excel.”