By Kari Condel
Shayna Berretta, a member of the DeSales Equestrian team, was the only individual this year to attend and participate in the regional competition on April 1. Berretta started her riding career at just eight-years-old in Long Island, and never expected to be as successful as she is, achieving many high honors and gaining much recognition along the way.
Part of the physician assistant program and looking towards gaining a master’s degree, Beretta is no stranger to hard work and dedication. The same principles that must be applied in the classroom with regards to work ethic and the grit that may come with it is essential, and must be carried with her into the barn and ultimately shown within the ring.
Throughout her career at DeSales, she set many goals, pushing herself each and every day to be the best rider that she could be, improving and overcoming both small and large obstacles.
The day she qualified for fences was not only the confirmation needed to secure a ticket to regionals, but also signaled a milestone in her DSU riding days. This punch into the competitive level of regionals also allowed her to rise up into the highest division of fences for the rest of her senior year, a goal conjured at the beginning of this fouryear-long journey with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).
As a past qualifier of regionals in a lower division and reflecting on the riders who came before her, Shayna says, “It is always exciting when you qualify to ride with the best in the region for that specific class [intermediate fences].”
Reaching for new goals and accomplishments was never hindered or halted leading up to the competition itself, even after her spot had been safely secured. She made new goals, some were met and some were not, but each dream and hope is comprised within this rider, taking it with her and using it as fuel wherever her career takes her.
“The day of regionals I was extremely nervous, which is not uncommon since I was picking a random horse out of a hat that I had to get on and jump around a 2’9 course.” said Berretta.
Although anticipation, nervousness and fear were weighing heavily on Berretta’s mind, that did not hinder her performance, as she was ready, both physically and mentally.
The pool of 11 girls in the division, the best riders within the region, each took their turn on stage to show their skill, talent and a commanding nature over the horse and the course itself.
As the final results came in, DeSales’ rider would finish 6th, a major accomplishment and a place to be proud of. The year-long road of working and waiting to qualify, compete and have a favorable outcome were over, and her initial goal as a freshman can be checked off the list.
Whether or not Berretta comes to the decision to compete in the Alumni division of IHSA next year, one thing is for sure: the love for the sport and the joy of riding will never leave her.
Berretta’s closing embodies the essence of the love itself, “I will continue to ride since it is my stress relief and something I have always and will always enjoy to do.”