The Team

 The American University Equestrian Team rides under the training of Astrid 'Star' Dalley  at Oatland Stables in Brookeville, Md.  We compete in Zone 4 Region 1 of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) in the Hunt seat competitions. Students do not have to compete in order to be part of the team. There are no tryouts for the AUET; if you want to ride, you're in!

The AUET is a recognized club sport at American University open for all students currently attending, both undergraduate and graduate.  ISHA competitions are open to all undergraduate members or any graduate students who rode in the IHSA as undergraduates.

The Program 
The team offers a once a week lesson package for $500 per semester or $1000 for the year. 

Unfortunately the barn is not Metro accessible. The riders take AUTO vans, which they must to be certified to drive, and/or personal cars to the barn. For more information on Oatland, please visit their website at

The barn provides helmets, saddles and other tack. However, the riders must supply their own boots (proper riding boots that include a heel), and chaps or half chaps and breeches. Proper attire is explained in the American University Guidelines. 


How To Join

To join the American University Equestrian Team, you must attend an information meeting (one held in fall semester, or one held during spring semester) on campus, fill out and hand in all the appropriate paperwork plus a copy of your health insurance card, and select and pay for your riding plan. Files and Links 

For more information and questions , please email the team at:


The Coach

Astrid "Star" Dalley started riding at age 10 in Michigan under the tutelage of Michael Mathews, an FEI judge from Austria.  Star quickly moved up the ranks in the big shows doing the junior jumpers and the Medal Maclay classes.  After competing in large shows like the Sunshine Circuit in Florida, I Love NY, Detriot/Motor City, she then went on to get a "real job."  After moving to Maryland, she rediscovered her love of horses.  She has been coaching local riders to wins for many years, from the HCHS circuit up to qualifying for Washington International.  

 Team Accomplishments


Intermediate Rider Jenny Knauss qualified for Zone Intermediate Fences.  She took 7th.  Congrats Jenny!


Riders went to Regionals, Zones, and Nationals! Congrats to the team for a great season. This is the first time that the team sent riders to all three final levels: Regional finals, Zone finals, and National finals, in both hunt seat and stock seat.

  • Lana Ciaramella received enough points to compete in the Open Flat and placed 4th at Hunt Seat Regionals.
  • Lauren Barredo received enough points to compete Novice Rail and placed 4th at Stock Seat Regionals.
  • Kirstin Dillingham was the High Point rider of the region, sending her to both Zones to compete for High Point Rider of Zone 4 and to Nationals in PA for being the Regional High Point Rider.


(L) Lauren Baredo, (C) Kirstin Dillingham, (R) Lana Ciaramella

AU Recognition at IHSA Nationals.

  • Kirstin Dillingham represented American University at IHSA Nationals held May 5th through May 8th. She was the first American University student to walk in the IHSA Nationals Parade. Kirstin placed 7th in her Novice Horsemanship class of approximately 20 riders; a noteworthy accomplishment.
  • Lana Ciaramella, team co-founder, was awarded the $1000 IHSA Scholarship during the Awards Ceremony on May 8th during the Nationals competition.
  • Kirstin Dillingham was the first American University rider to move on from Regionals to Nationals! She placed first at the Western Regionals hosted at Clay Hill Stables ; making it her ninth consecutive blue ribbon in western IHSA competitions since starting as a freshman this past fall. She will travel to the University of Findlay for the National competition on April 30th. 
  • Freshman Kirstin Dillingham placed 4th in her Novice over fences class at the College of William and Mary Horse Show  giving the one point she needed to qualify for Intermediate over fences. She will traveled to Goucher College for Zone 4 Region 1 English Regionals. She was the first AU regional qualifier.
  • Two riders from the team qualified for Zone 4 Region 1 Western Regionals. Freshman Kirstin Dillingham won five consecutive first place ribbons since the start of the season. At the Hood College horse show on Feb. 27th, she placed out of Novice Western Horsemanship into Advanced Western Horsemanship. Sophomore Lana Ciaramella placed out of the same division at the western show hosted by George Washington University on March 6th. The two competed in Regionals on April 2nd at Clay Hill Stables. The top two riders went onto Nationals in Ohio in May. They were the first two AU riders to qualify for western regional finals.

Team History

The American University Equestrian Team was co-founded in the Fall of 2003 by Jessie Loutoo (’06) and Lana Ciaramella (’07).  It started with a group of about ten girls, of which only about three consistently competed. Come the spring semester, enrollment on the team increased and the competing body doubled in size.  The talent of the team comes from the diversity of experience within it. Some have trained in dressage, some in eventing and even in sidesaddle. Though the majority of our riders have hunter/jumper backgrounds, we welcome riders from all disicplines.
The capabilities of the members range from beginner to advanced. Though the team started out quite small, they persevered in shows, always coming out with ribbons in their very first year. In its second season, the team sent two riders to regionals and had one rider who qualified and competed at Nationals. The team has made its name for itself and has proven itself in the Zone 4 Region 1 community as well as nationwide and plans to continue making a name for itself in the years to come.