Sweet Briar will celebrate riding and history at its 90th Annual Horse Show  

Rider JumpingSince 1927, riders and horses have gathered each spring at Sweet Briar College to compete in the Annual Horse Show. This year, the College will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the event on April 8.

The 2017 horse show will kick off at 8:30 a.m. at the 130-acre Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center. As they have for the past nine decades, individual riders will compete in a variety of hunter and equitation classes at heights from 2’ to 3’6”. Riders in equitation classes will be judged on position, accuracy, and the effectiveness of the partnership between horse and rider. Hunter over fences classes will be judged on the performance of the horse.

The College expects approximately 50 riders to participate.

Two legendary riders from among Sweet Briar’s alumnae will be inducted into the College’s Hall of Fame during the weekend. Elizabeth “Keedie” Grones Leonard ’76 and Makanah Dunham Morriss ’66 will be recognized for their dedication and support of the program.

The 90th Annual Horse Show will feature several special trophies and awards. These include the Fayette-Brown Challenge Trophy, awarded since 1950 to the Sweet Briar rider who demonstrates the best horsemanship and sportsmanship throughout the show. A panel of judges, including show judge Peg Seals, will select the winner.

Seals serves on the board of directors of the Virginia Horse Shows Association.

Another historically important award, given since 1968 to the show’s Adult Hunter Division champion, is the Harriet Howell Rogers Challenge Trophy. Last year, Emily Schlosberg ‘19 and Sweet Briar’s Lord of the Dance, were awarded the trophy.

“This show has always been important to the College,” says Merrilee “Mimi” Wroten, director of Sweet Briar’s riding program. “It is a wonderful way to celebrate our student-riders and our program.”

Wroten, who was named ODAC Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2016, notes that even as the world has changed dramatically over the past 90 years, the competitors at this show will look and ride much as they did in 1927.

“The arena is new, a few technical aspects are different, but otherwise this year’s horse show will be very similar to the one in 1927. Now, as then, we celebrate the hard work, dedication, and passion of our students and other riders.”

Outside competitors may request the prize list from Sweet Briar’s riding program office by calling (434) 381-6116 or view the prize list online here.

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