Sweet Briar riding caps successful weekend, looks ahead to SWVHJA Horse Show on campus

Emily Hawk riding Amazing Grace. Photo by Dana Ray
Emily Hawk riding Amazing Grace. Photo by Dana Ray

The Sweet Briar College Riding Program hosted its annual Hunter Trials last weekend, while some riders traveled to the Randolph College Fall Festival Qualifiers, bringing home multiple ribbons.

Saturday’s breezy but sunny conditions offered a picturesque backdrop as Sweet Briar riders competed on the College’s Proving Grounds. Emily Hawk ’18, with help from Amazing Grace, started the day as champion of the green foxhunter classes. The team was awarded the Clayton E. Bailey Challenge Trophy.

The Margery Babcock Perpetual Trophy went to Meghan Kaiser ’17, who rode Sweet Briar’s Nantucket. CeCe Mahan ’19 and Amazing Grace won the Executive Challenge Trophy. The Vixen Trophy was awarded to Emelie Wurster ’17 riding Sweet Briar’s Seamus.

Mary Long served as judge for the Hunter Trials.

At Randolph College, Sweet Briar fielded a Medal Finals winner for the third consecutive year. This time, it was Courtney Barry ’18 who won the event, renewing her ODAC and ANRC team partnership with Sweet Briar’s Fernando. The pair earned fourth place in the 2-foot-6-inches open equitation over fences and a third place in their section of the open equitation on the flat.

Katrina Matz ’17 and her horse Je t’aime also competed in the Randolph Medal Finals, and Sarah Miller ’20 rode Sweet Briar’s Theodore in the open equitation 2-foot-6-inches division Saturday.

Makayla Benjamin ’18, riding SBC’s Dorado, and Emily Schlosberg ’19, riding Jason Berry’s Imposant, took on this year’s Oak Ridge Medal Finals.

Benjamin improved her scores from last year and ended up reserve champion in a tough group of competitors. On Sunday, Benjamin and Dorado were first in the gymnastic phase with a score of 89, second in the flat phase with a score of 86, and fourth in the medal phase with a score of 80. Benjamin also was high-point champion of the year for the Oak Ridge Medal and on Saturday, the team won the 3-foot open equitation division.

Makayla Benjamin and Coach Lizzie Fisch
Makayla Benjamin and Coach Lizzie Fisch

Schlosberg rode Imposant for the first time on Friday afternoon before competing with him Saturday and Sunday. The pair won the flat phase and was sixth in the medal phase to finish in seventh place overall in their first Oak Ridge Medal Finals.

Schlosberg and Imposant came in third and fourth in the 3-foot open equitation over-fences classes and fourth in the under-saddle class.

“We are very proud of our wonderful riders, fantastic horses, and thankful for the continuing support of our alumnae,” said riding program director Mimi Wroten.

But there is little time for Wroten and her riders to revel in the glory, as riding has another busy weekend ahead.

On Saturday, the College’s field riding team will attend the blessing of the Bedford hounds — a beloved tradition, Wroten says. That same day, the IHSA team will compete at Hollins University and beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sweet Briar will host its Medal Finals and the annual SWVHJA Horse Show, with Bucky Reynolds as judge. Sunday’s public event will also feature food from T&E Catering available for purchase.

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