By: Cara Brooks '20
EMORY, Va. – Senior Francisco Caba-Guil (Almería, SPAIN) of Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College has been invited to ride in the inaugural IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational in Hempstead, New York at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The invitation-only horse show will occur on Friday, April 26, and feature 25 top riders who compete in the Cacchione Cup and Open divisions of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association. Riders will compete over fences with the top 12 returning to be judged on the flat on horses they draw sight-unseen.
The Longines Masters is one of the world's most prestigious equestrian series and the American segment includes show jumping competitions featuring top international riders. Longines events are broadcast in more than 100 countries worldwide and reach over 260 million households.
George H. Morris and Brianne Goutal-Marteau will judge the competition. Morris won both the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Finals and the AHSA Hunt Seat Equitation Medal Finals at age 14 and is regarded as the originator of hunt seat equitation. Goutal-Marteau won all four major equitation finals during her junior career: the US Equestrian Federation Jumping Talent Search Finals-East, the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals, the USEF Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal Finals and the ASPCA Maclay National Championships.
When Caba-Guil arrived at E&H in 2015, he was not in love with the idea of riding equitation: "When I first got here, I thought this was the worst decision ever because I was not used to jumping smaller fence heights and I was judging everything harshly. Now I enjoy it so much. I was not into equitation when I got here, but I learned how to expand my boundaries, and I am so grateful that I did."
Equitation is the discipline that the E&H equestrian team competes in within IHSA. Judging is based on the rider's form on the horse, and how form affects the quality of the ride. Caba-Guil competes in show jumping at his home in Spain, which is less about position and more about navigating quickly and efficiently around a course of jumps without knocking down any rails. He competes in the 1.45 meter classes, the 1.50 meter Grand Prix classes, and at international shows in the FEI (Federal Equestre Internationale) circuit.
Caba-Guil said that his trainer in Spain has noticed how much his riding position has improved since starting at Emory & Henry. He added that he "would love to have equitation in Spain as well, so that young people can learn how to ride more technically; equitation helps so much with your position and with your eye."
Caba-Guil found his place on the Emory & Henry IHSA team and has been able to earn a business degree in the United States while furthering his riding experience. He says that he would make the decision to come to E&H again: "I love Emory & Henry; I have grown as a rider and as a student."