A member of the state champion equestrian team from Grand Haven provided a big favor to the Albion College huntseat equestrian team on Saturday at their home meet and in return, the school won the program’s first-ever regional championship.
Grand Haven’s Oliva Ortiz loaned her horse to the Albion team and was on hand to volunteer for the two-day competition. Lakeshore Middle School equestrian team member Lily Atkinson also loaned her horse to the Britons and was also in attendance both days to warm up the Britons’ horses and volunteer to help the show run smoothly.
Albion’s original horses had suffered injuries and were short the required number of mounts to cover all of the classes in competition, plus they had to have alternates in case of additional injuries.
A member of Albion’s team, Grand Haven graduate Claire Tillman, reached out to her Grand Haven equestrian community and found a quick response.
The Tillman family also lent Albion their horse, Nacho.
Aside from the team’s success, Albion had several riders take home individual honors, including Tillman. She placed fourth on Saturday and took third on Sunday to earn the seven points needed to advance to individual regionals.
The individual regional meet will be held in Ann Arbor on March 3-4.
Albion also qualified for the Zones Meet, which will be held in West Virginia in April. The Zones is the qualifying step before the national meet in Harrisburg, Pa., on May 2-5.