The FHC equestrian team is back in the saddle for 2021 and beyond


After a long-drawn winter, spring, and summer, one of the most feared and valued sports teams in FHC history has returned. The 2021 equestrian season has played host to many special memories; it certainly has been a season that will never be forgotten.

FHC’s equestrian team returned this fall with one of its most special seasons yet, as this team had a lot of newer faces. The year prior saw superstar rider Alania Briggs complete her last dance in the sport, as she helped lead the team along with now-senior Claire Richardson and sophomore Meghan Bonney to a 7th place finish in the state finals.

Unfortunately, with Briggs graduating, the team suffered another major loss. Claire Richardson tragically endured a lower-leg injury, forcing her to be sidelined for the season. This year, the team had to fight back without two of its biggest stars from a season ago. One question remained ahead of FHC’s daunting schedule: how would the Rangers bounce back?

Despite the setback, the ladies did not stop persevering and moving forward; they would produce another excellent year of competition. A smaller list of meets and events this year helped the Rangers pursue their way back to the top rope and reach new heights as both a competitive and high-class squad. The Rangers received a very highly-honored sportsmanship award after being one of the most humble and well-rounded teams in the state all season long.

“The sportsmanship award is an award that they give one team who was the kindest and nicest to the other teams,” spoke junior Masyn Cole. “Basically, the award goes to whichever team shows the most gratitude to others throughout the season while also being at the top of their own game.”

Head coach Stacey Bode’s leadership instituted a meaningful role amongst the small, fierce group of Ranger riders. If it was not for what Bode brought to one of the better teams in District 19, the Rangers would not have been as successful as they were. After a long year of competing at events leading up to districts, FHC finally made its way to the Regionals. In a tough region with many familiar faces from across the state–Caledonia, Zeeland West, and Thornapple Kellogg–the Rangers would finish second behind the Division C champs of Vicksburg.

“Coach Bode impacted our team’s performance this year by pushing all of us to try new things. She impacted our team by simply being herself,” Masyn said. “Coach Bode is very sarcastic and she knows us all very well, so we can all joke around when also learning and working hard.”

The complete roster of seniors Claire Richardson and Chloe Culp, juniors Masyn Cole and Abby Satterthwaite, sophomore Meghan Bonney, and freshmen Addison Sanford, Ashley Hibma, and Juliana Lieuwen have all gotten the chance to become a tight-knit group during the fall.

“Being on a smaller team can be nice. You can get to know all your teammates well, and it’s like we all got close very quickly. It’s perfect with fewer people,” Abby Satterthwaite claimed.

Now that the season has come to a finale, the matches come to a close and the stables dim their lights. Exceptional careers for Culp and Richardson sadly come to a draw, yet their times as Rangers will stay in the memories of all of their teammates and the program.

“I’m always able to be out there supporting the other girls during their events. I was especially happy with how involved our new freshmen were all season, in competition as well, as being around to cheer us on in the events,” Abby said. “Everyone put in 110% effort, and I’m super excited for us to come out even stronger next year.”