Arquilla looks to rein in the World Cup

More stories from Autumn Bryant

Arquilla looks to rein in the World Cup

After winning two national titles and falling one point short of the Triple Crown, senior Lauren Arquilla is preparing for the International Saddle Seat World Cup selection trials.


Arquilla recently competed in Indianapolis and St. Louis, where she won two national titles and was reserve for third in St. Louis.  Arquilla’s trainer, Stacy Stackhouse, calls her recent successes her “biggest accomplishment”.


“Most recently she almost won the triple crown and in my mind she did, because she won two finals in Indianapolis, the Pleasure Olympics and the Challenge Cup, and she was in St. Louis this weekend for the Medallion Finals. She had perfect patterns and she was reserve out of 17 with one point difference between her and the other girl, so it was kind of subjective but I think most people thought Lauren should win, the crowd was behind her for sure,” Stackhouse said.


Arquilla is no stranger to the spotlight. She has been competing ever since she was six and dreamed of one day winning national titles like she has this season.


“I cried.  When they called my name I cried because I was so overwhelmed.  Like I’ve been dreaming of that since I was six years old.  I had a bunch of interviews with people, and then I’ve been in a bunch of magazines,” Arquilla said.


After winning two national titles, Stackhouse is preparing Arquilla for the rest of the show season which goes through November, and for the World Cup selection trials in December.  


“I have been [preparing her] since I met her, I’ve put her on every kind of horse and all these lesson horses she has, are lesson horses for a reason because they have difficulties.  She can ride any of them and I just keep putting her on them.  That is what the World Cup is about, riding a horse that you’ve never ridden before and you get five minutes to figure it out, so she has got to get up there and put all of her instincts to work immediately and see if she can figure this horse out,” Stackhouse said.


Arquilla is competing against 30 riders, including her younger brother,  for one of six spots on the International Saddle Seat World Cup team competing in July of 2018.  


“We come in and we walk, trot and canter in both directions and then we leave the arena. We are called back one by one to do additional work which is a pattern and we’re scored based upon each element of the pattern, and the score is out of 100,” Arquilla said.


The path to World Cup selection trials has not been easy for Arquilla. “Over all my seasons I’ve always had to change a horse and I’ve been riding them one time before I go into the show ring.  This year my brother let me ride his horse, his show name is Mooi Mooi, which is South African for beautiful beautiful, so I have had to make a team out of us,” Arquilla said.


Even though having a horse to ride has been an uncertainty for Arquilla, her experience on multiple horses has given her skills to take into the World Cup.


“I am pretty confident because I have ridden a variety of different horses so I feel more prepared then I could ever be,” Arquilla said.


“She’s calm and instinctive, she reads the horse’s body and their body language and responds to it in the way that they need her to,” Stackhouse said.


As the World Cup selection trials approach Stackhouse is hopeful for Arquilla’s last season in the 17 and under division.


“It is almost like she has  a new found confidence and it just showed up in her riding that she looked stronger and bolder, more relaxed.  She is going to peak.  This is her year–this is her final year in 17 and under so she is going to lay it all on the table and bring everything out that she has,” Stackhouse said.


After 12 years of being in the show ring, Arquilla’s final goal is simple. “It’s my last season so I’m looking forward to finishing strong.  I want to make the World Cup team, that’s pretty much it,” Arquilla said.