Vixen riders carried a strong finish in the last regular show of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association season into the IHSA Zone 4, Region 2 finals, ending both competitions as the reserve high-point team.
Both shows were held Sunday, Feb. 24. As has been the case in previous years, the University of Virginia hosted the regular-season finale in the morning and the Region 2 finals in the afternoon.
Despite a slow start in the morning, coach Lizzie Fisch’s team rallied to finish second with 34 points. Olivia Smith ’14 led the way as she captured the show’s high-point rider title en route to securing a berth in the IHSA nationals as the Zone 4, Region 2 Cacchione Cup rider. Kaitlin Eckenberger ’13 won her intermediate fences class in her last show as a Vixen, Katie Drake ’14 was second in novice flat, Kathryne Richard ’15 won a fourth-place ribbon in both intermediate flat and novice fences, and McKenna Wilder ’16 was fifth in walk, trot, canter.
Five Sweet Briar riders participated in six classes during the regional finals later in the day. Laura Leitch ’14 placed fourth in walk, trot, canter; Brianna Belter ’13 was fourth in novice flat; Richard was second in intermediate flat; Drake placed second in novice over fences and Smith finished fourth and fifth in open flat and fences.
Drake and Richard were reserve high-point riders in their classes, qualifying them to advance to the Zone 4 finals to represent Sweet Briar.
Smith won the coveted Zone 4, Region 2 Cacchione Cup this weekend with an accumulated score of 82 points. Going into the final competition, Smith was tied with Taylor Rose of Bridgewater College. She pulled ahead by winning her equitation flat class, then widened her lead with an outstanding ride over fences.
The Cacchione Cup is named for IHSA founder Bob Cacchione. Smith will join riders from all over the country to compete for the honor of being the top IHSA hunt seat individual rider at the National Championship in Harrisburg, Pa., May 2-5.
The Zone 4 Championship will be held April 6 at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, N.C.