As part of the transition to full varsity status for the Albion College equestrian program for the 2017-2018 season, Athletic Director Matt Arend announced Wednesday the appointment of Barbra Reis as coach for the dressage discipline.
A graduate of Centenary College (now University) with a B.S. in Equine Studies, Reis supplemented her equine education with a stint at Porlock Vale Equestrian Centre in Porlock, England, where she earned her British Horse Society Assistant Instructor certification (BHSAI) and has also participated in the U.S. Dressage Federation "L" judge program. As a dressage competitor, she has received her USDF Bronze and Silver medals, as well as her Bronze Freestyle Bar, and earned multiple year-end awards for USDF All-Breeds and through the Performance Horse Registry.
As the owner and head trainer at Brilliant Reflection Farm in Ortonville, Mich., Reis and her students are regular fixtures on the competition circuit in USDF Region 2. She is also enthusiastic about equine education of all forms, organizing clinics with such luminaries as Janet Foy, Lisa Wilcox, Catherine Haddad Staller, and Debbie McDonald and regularly attending the USDF Convention, as well as the USDF Trainers' Conference.
The appointment of Reis to lead the dressage discipline comes as the Briton equestrian squad elevates the dressage and stock seat disciplines to varsity status this fall. Since the inception of the equestrian program in 2004, the hunt seat discipline was elevated to varsity status for the 2015-16 season, with the western and dressage teams competing as official campus clubs. Following the upgrade of the Randi C. Heathman Arena at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center last fall, however, the decision was made to boost all three competitive equestrian disciplines onto the varsity athletics lineup.
"Albion is fortunate to attract an individual as qualified as Barbara to lead the dressage program," Arend said. "I am anxious to witness the development of the Britons in all of the equestrian disciplines in the upcoming years."
The first competition for Coach Reis and the Briton dressage riders will be the Michigan State University doubleheader hosted at Albion's Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center Oct. 21 and 22.
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