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SAU senior shares the road to the Cacchione Cup

Kimberly Graves

St. Andrews University senior Kimberly Graves earned the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Zone 4 Region 3 Cacchione Cup Championship for this year, earning her one of 37 slots in the National Cacchione Cup Class at Nationals taking place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa., through May 6.

To qualify, riders compete in the Open Hunter Seat classes at regular IHSA shows in their respective region to gain points. At the end of the season the Open rider that has accumulated the most points in both the Over Fences and on the Flat, is crowned the Cacchione Cup Champion for their region.

It is an award that Graves never expected to win in her lifetime.

“I was told by many trainers in my past that I would never win an equitation class,” said Graves. “Now I am on my way to IHSA Nationals and not for just one but three classes.”

Graves also qualified for the Individual Open Equitation Over Fences and Individual Open Equitation on the Flat when she earned Champion and Reserve Champion respectively at the Zone 4 Championship.

Graves is one of only two riders to qualify for both the Individual Open classes and the Cacchione Cup for Nationals this year. 

“I’m speechless,” she said. “This is a huge accomplishment that I never expected to happen. This year I really learned a lot about myself and about my riding.  I learned that you just have to relax and ride the horse you are on, and if you mess up in the first class let it be in the past. Don’t hold on to the past.”

Graves used this technique and a bit of luck at the Zone 4 Championship on April 6 at St. Andrews.

“I decided not to watch our horses school,” she said. “I was a little worried that if I watched them in the morning that I would try to mock what I saw, instead of just riding the horse I was on.”

Graves said that she felt very lucky going into the competition that day when she realized her back number was 108.

“My lucky number is eight because I was born on April the eighth, which was only two days away and I knew once I drew the horses I was going to ride that it was going to be a lucky day.”

Her luck proved well when she pulled the exact horses she wanted for each of her classes.

“It was just really icing on the cake for me” explained Graves.

The three phase National Cacchione Cup class started Thursday with the first round being an Equitation Over Fences round, with the top 20 riders returning for an Equitation Flat phase. If the judges desires they can call back the top five riders for further testing. 

“I’m not really nervous about it because I know that in the end the only person I have to let down is myself if I don’t do well and I’m ok with that,” said Graves. “I’m just ready to ride and take my turn at Nationals.”


About St. Andrews University

St. Andrews is a student and teaching-focused University which offers a broad range of undergraduate majors in a curriculum that is global in scope and practical in its application. St. Andrews has added a first graduate level program with a Masters in Business Administration. The quality of the St. Andrews educational experience has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and GI Jobs among others. In addition to its academic programs, the University has an acclaimed university press, men’s and women’s athletic teams, a nationally competitive equestrian program, and an award-winning pipe band. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University, Florida. Further information may be obtained by visiting the University’s website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198, or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.


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