From the Rice program: Easy Rider

    Nov. 8, 1999

    by Curtis Webb, Fresno State Media Relations

    It has been a long journey to success for junior equestrian Susanne Andreotti. But she hasn?t done it by herself. Buehler, her horse of six years, has been a major part of her equestrian life. Just over two weeks ago, Andreotti and Buehler traveled to Baltimore to compete in a three-day equestrian show. The significance of the event: an Olympic qualifying event for the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney.

    On the first day of the show, the two-some participated in the Dressage event, which requires participants to perform a test in front of a panel of judges within an arena. Judges evaluate the rider on how she and her horse perform different movements.

    The second day, dubbed "Endurance Day," Andreotti and Buehler competed in four different phases. During the first section, called Roads and Tracks, she was judged on how well she guided her horse through certain paths. Next, Andreotti participated in the Steeplechase, a course consisting of many jumps in which the rider and horse are galloping at over two miles per minute. In the third phase, Andreotti again participated in a longer version of Roads and Tracks. The final phase on that day was an obstacle course in which several challenges were presented to the tandem. Under Andreotti?s command, Buehler attempted to leap over ditches and water obstructions before crossing through a set of flags in various sections of the event.

    The final day of competition included show jumping. In this event, Andreotti and Buehler would perform a routine of jumps and trots evaluated by the judges.

    Overall, Andreotti felt extremely pleased with herself and Buehler?s performance. She and her sidekick placed in the middle of the pack, which included mostly Olympians and international competitors.

    "Just being there gave me a tremendous experience," Andreotti said. "I learned so much and it was a blast. Buehler did a great job too. He?s a pretty amazing horse. It takes a different kind of horse to compete in an event like we did."

    At Fresno State, Andreotti will compete in the Open category, the highest event offered in intercollegiate equestrian. She came to the equestrian team as a very experienced rider with exceptional skill and technique. With her sights set on international competition, Andreotti won't compete in every equestrian show during the season. But she will contribute to the team when certain situations arise.

    Competing at the collegiate level will give Andreotti the consistent practice she needs to perform at the international scene. Her patience, discipline and willingness to sacrifice will help team unity. She also brings a leadership quality essential to the team?s success.

    "I expect Susanne to compete well when I call on her," head equestrian coach Megan McGee said. "When there is a need for her to compete, she can step up in crunch time and do the job."

    "To get where she is now, Susanne had a solid plan," McGee said. "It has taken six to eight years to reach the level she is at. The first time I saw her compete was at a national show when she was only fourteen. So this has been one of her goals for a long time."

    Andreotti has been riding horses her entire life, and her ultimate goal is to reach the Olympic plateau. Whether it is next year or four years from now, she will put in the time and effort it takes to

    "I definitely want to do this again in the spring," Andreotti said, referring to her experience in Maryland. "I?m aiming to fulfill my dreams."

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