The 2020 fall semester has posed numerous unique challenges for athletics and equestrian competition. Luckily, the riding program’s three signature fall events were able to be held: the Hunter Pace, Hunter Trials and the 94th Annual Sweet Briar Horse Show. In addition, a special Pink & Green Meet Day scrimmage event was held for IHSA and NCEA riders.
Competitors in the Hunter Pace enjoyed the traditional route through the fields and forests across campus. After the event, you could tell that everyone was refreshed and joyful to have experienced the thrill of the ride and beauty of the land: a welcomed change of scenery after many events had been cancelled due to COVID-19.
The Hunter Trials was another extraordinarily beautiful day with perfect weather and talented horses and riders. The event once again took place in the Hunter Trials field at the base of Monument Hill. Some of the highlights included:
- The Clayton E. Bailey Trophy for champion in the Green Hunter Class going to Emily Simmons and Sweet Briar’s Snips
- The Margery Babcock ’49 Perpetual Trophy for the rider who demonstrates the best horsemanship going to Chloe Kerschl ’22
- The Vixen Award for the Sweet Briar student that demonstrates “the steadfast and tenacious spirit that refuses to yield” was awarded to Kacie Freeburg ’23
- The winner of the Championship Class was Mckenzie Patterson ’24 and Sweet Briar’s Clover with reserve champion going to Shannon Huth ’23 and Sweet Briar’s Oh So Fine.
- The Executive Challenge Trophy, which is awarded to a good hunting horse, going to Sweet Briar’s Clover
The 94th Annual Sweet Briar Horse show saw a quite a large crowd on a rainy day. With so many shows being cancelled, this turned out to be a last opportunities for riders to compete for year-end points. With such an expansive riding center, there was plenty of room for everyone to stay socially distanced, safe and comfortable (except for putting up with the cold rain!). Some of the day’s highlights included:
- Maddie van Tiem ’24 and Stalypso winning Reserve Champion Adult Hunters
- Kaitlin Duecker ’21 and Corasonne winning Champion Special Adult Hunters and the Sweet Briar Medal
- Emily Simmons ’24 and Theodore winning Champion Special Children’s Hunter
The riding program rounded out the semester in November with a special 3-day clinic with Melanie Smith Taylor, one of only two riders to win the Triple Crown of Show Jumping: American Invitational, International Jumping Derby and American Gold Cup. She also was the only person to win all three on the same horse.
Following the clinic, riders competed in the SWVHJA Annual Show and Medal Finals at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington. Lily Peterson ’21 and Sweet Briar’s Dorado came away with a big win as Adult Medal Final Champions.