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RIVER FALLS - One University of Wisconsin-River Falls western equestrian team member qualified for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships in May while she and four other team members earned the right to compete at the IHSA semi-finals March 24 - 25.

The UW-River Falls IHSA western equestrian team competed in the final regular season show Feb. 18 where riders were able to acquire points toward qualifying for the regional finals held the following day.

UW-River Falls earned the reserve championship team during Saturday’s regular season show. Autumn Kappers, an animal science major from Spring Valley, MN, was high point rider winning both the open reining and the open horsemanship categories. Those points secured her the AQHA Cup (high point rider) for the year in this region. AQHA Cup riders advance directly to IHSA nationals and do not have to compete at semi-finals. The IHSA National Championships take place in Lexington, KY.

UW-River Falls had 10 riders competing in 11 classes going into the regional finals Feb. 19. Five team members earned the right to compete at semi-finals by finishing first or second in their category.

Kappers qualified in the open reining category. Ashley Gapinski, an animal science major from Ramsey, Minn., will be competing in beginner horsemanship. Mikayla Mack, from River Falls, who just completed her biology degree in December, will be competing in advanced horsemanship. Danielle Paulson, an animal science major from Spring Valley, Minn., will be competing in open horsemanship; and, Rachel Shamro, an agricultural business major from Hayward, will be competing in novice horsemanship.

The IHSA semi-finals took place at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego.

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