Laffey Earns Horsemanship Award

West Springfield, Mass. - K-State freshman English rider Larissa Laffey was awarded the Katie Battison Memorial Horsemanship Award at the New England Equitation Championships, held October 18 at the Eastern States Coliseum in West Springfield, Mass. 

The New England Equitation Championships (NEEC) began in 1978, when Mason Phelps, Julie Ulrich, Jamie Mann, Nancy Ciesluk and Joe Dotoli joined together to create a way to strengthen the equitation divisions in New England.  One of the most prominent awards up for grabs at the NEEC is the Katie Battison Memorial Horsemanship Competition.  Scores for the horsemanship competition are comprised of three components: a written test, a practicum administered by an equine veterinarian, and the first round of competition in the saddle. Battison, who had won the inaugural NEEC Horsemanship Award in 1997, was a junior rider who had hopes of becoming a veterinarian before her untimely death from a traffic accident in 1998.

With scores of 93 on the written test, 91 on the practicum, and an 82.75 in her first round of competition, Laffey earned a record high total score 266.75 to take home the award this year, as well as being honored with the competition's Sportsmanship Award.    

"Growing up as a trainer's daughter, horsemanship and sportsmanship were instilled into me by both of my parents at an early age," said Laffey. "They are perhaps the two most important aspects of riding, with showing being a distant third. It is an overwhelming honor for me to have won both awards my last year as a junior."

Past winners at the New England Equitation Championships include such elite grand prix riders as Peter Wylde (1981), Schuyler Riley (1987) and McLain Ward (1992).  

Laffey is in the midst of her first season of competition at Kansas State, where she made her collegiate Varsity Equestrian debut last weekend against Texas A&M in the Equitation on the Flat discipline.