No horsing around

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Los Alamos High School senior Megan Reader is competing in the International Tetrathlon

By Special to the Monitor

Megan Reader, 17, has been selected to represent the United States at the International Tetrathlon Exchange hosted by the USPC Aug. 2-13 in California. The USPC Tetrathlon provides a challenging competition requiring sound, practical horsemanship and general athletic ability. It encourages Pony Club members to broaden their interest in riding, condition their own bodies and become multi-sport athletes.

Reader, a senior at LAHS, is a member of the LAHS Cross Country Team. Earlier this summer, she spent several weeks in Kansas City training with two USPC jump coaches and swims and shoots when she is not riding or running.  She is the daughter of Garth and Lisa Reader and has been a member of the Los Alamos Pony Club for seven years.

Tetrathlon is a sport requiring skill and physical endurance. It includes four events: riding a mount over a course of obstacles, shooting an air pistol, running cross-country and swimming. It’s derived from the modern pentathlon originated by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the Modern Olympic games, during the first decade of the 20th century. In designing the modern pentathlon, de Coubertin incorporated the traditions of the classical Greek pentathlon, one of the oldest sporting events of the Greek Olympics dating back to 708 BC and modernized the events. The five events de Coubertin selected for the modern pentathlon were those he considered to be most representative of the skills necessary for a military courier of Napoleonic France to carry out his duties: riding a strange mount, fencing with epee, pistol shooting, swimming and cross-country running.

The rules for the Tetrathlon are based on the rules used by the Union International de Pentathlon Modern for all Modern Pentathlon competitions, with the exception of the fencing event, which, because of its complexity, is excluded from the Tetrathlon.

It is important that competitors in Tetrathlon strike a balance between the skill events, riding and shooting and the physical endurance events, running and swimming.

Rules for the Tetrathlon differ in some respects from the established rules for the separate sports. Rule differences, as well as the objectives of the Tetrathlon, should be clearly understood by those who train and coach Pony Club Tetrathletes.

To qualify for the USPC Tetrathlon International Team the competitor must be between 16 and 21 years of age on Jan. 1.

International Teams consist of the top four boys and girls. The Selection Panel determines the teams using information in the applications and recommendations.

The Selection Pane will consider a candidate’s ambassadorial attributes as well as the technical, athletic and teamwork abilities of each candidate.

The Tetrathlon Committee is responsible for training and fielding International Tetrathlon Teams. International teams will join teams from England, Ireland, Canada and Australia for the competitions in the USA and Canada.

The exchange begins Tuesday in San Francisco and ends on Aug. 14.