Faculty and Staff

The Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center is located a little more than a mile from the main quad. See it on the campus map here.

Rogers Riding Center
Sweet Briar College
P.O. Box 6
Sweet Briar, VA 24595
P | 434-381-6116
F | 434-381-6457

Merrilee “Mimi” Wroten '93

Director of the Riding Program
Head NCEA Coach
Riding Instructor

E | mwroten@sbc.edu
P | 434-381-6348

B.A., Psychology | Sweet Briar College

Mimi Wroten taught and rode professionally in New Jersey before returning to the highly acclaimed riding program at Sweet Briar, her alma mater, in the fall of 1996. She is a U.S. Equestrian Federation ‘R’ judge, an American National Riding Commission-recorded judge and holds the ANRC top rider rating. She is also a U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Certified Trainer.

Wroten graduated from Sweet Briar with a B.A. in psychology. Upon her return, she taught under Paul D. Cronin, director emeritus of the riding program, and former director Shelby French before her promotion to program director in 2011. She enjoys teaching and training riders of all levels and coaches successfully at home and away competitions.

Wroten is active in the equestrian community as a winning coach at the national and regional levels. She has coached an individual national champion and national reserve champion in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, as well as several American National Riding Commission champion and reserve champion teams. Wroten was ANRC’s winner of the 2010 USHJA Professional Service Award.

Wroten coached Sweet Briar’s team to three Old Dominion Athletic Conference championships, in 2012, 2015 and 2016, and was voted the conference’s Coach of the Year in each of those years. While at Sweet Briar, she also has coached the fall field team and the hunter show team.

Wroten believes that what she teaches in the show ring and field translates into other areas of life.

“Positive coaching helps young women become strong competitors in sports — and in all aspects of life,” she says. “By setting goals, working toward developing skills and schooling a horse, a rider acquires an understanding of the time, effort and dedication needed to achieve success. These principles can be applied to a student’s academic work as well as her future endeavors.”

Justine Betzler

Equine Coordinator

E | jbetzler@sbc.edu
P | 434-381-6116

B.S. Materials Engineering | University of Alabama

Justine Betzler grew up in Pittsburgh, Penn., where she began riding and establishing her background in hunters, jumpers, equitation and fox hunting.

She rode collegiately for the University of Alabama where she was on the university’s inaugural IHSA team and scrimmaged against NCEA programs. After college, she worked as groom and focused on bringing along young horses.

In 2017, Betzler joined the equestrian staff at the University of Lynchburg where she was the assistant coach. That year, the team was 3rd at the ODAC championships, and had the Rider was rider of the Year and the Cacchione Cup rider for the region, who finished 8th at nationals. In 2018, she became the head coach at Lynchburg and had a rider finish 10th in the open fences division at IHSA nationals. She also coached the 2018 ODAC Scholar Athlete. In 2020, Betzler coached the inaugural NCEA team for the University of Lynchburg and became the director of riding. She is also a U.S. Equestrian Federation “r” judge.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Fisch

Associate Director of the Riding Program
Head IHSA Coach
Assistant NCEA Coach
Riding Instructor

E | lfisch@sbc.edu
P | 434-381-6367

B.A., History | Randolph-Macon Woman’s College

Lizzie is an Atlanta native and a graduate of Randolph – Macon Woman’s College, where she majored in history and rode on the IHSA team. Lizzie has been teaching, riding and managing in the equine industry for more than 20 years and is a USHJA certified trainer. Her experience includes working with multiple Olympic and Grand Prix riders in Show jumping, Dressage and 3 Day Eventing as well as foxhunting with the Shakerag, Shamrock and Midland Hounds in Georgia. Prior to coming to SBC, she was the assistant trainer and rider at an AA show barn in Atlanta, where she also coached two Interscholastic Equestrian Association teams to multiple championships. At SBC she has coached the IHSA team to 3 region Championships, 1 zone reserve championship and an 8th place finish at the National Championships. Individually, she has coached the US Equestrian Cacchione Cup National Champion, 2 National Reserve Champions and multiple other top ten finishes at IHSA Nationals. She has also assisted with 2 ODAC Championship Teams and multiple ODAC Rookie and Rider of the Year recipients.

Alexandra Fredal

Riding Instructor

E | afredal@sbc.edu
P | 434-381-6559

BA in International Organizations | Seton Hill University
BS in Marketing/Human Resources | Seton Hill University
MBA | Tiffin University

Alex is originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and holds a BA in International Organizations and a BS in Marketing/Human Resources from Seton Hill University. Alex has an MBA from Tiffin University as well. As a student at Seton Hill University, she was a four-year starter on their varsity IHSA team and earned many accolades, including three Regional Finals appearances, three Zone Finals appearances, and one appearance at the IHSA National Championship. She was the Zone 6 Open Equitation and Open Flat Champion in 2013, the Regional High Point Cacchione Cup Rider in 2012, and the Reserve Regional High Point Cacchione Cup Rider in 2013. At the 2012 IHSA National Championships she placed 7th in the Open Equitation Over Fences division. Academically, she was awarded IHSA All-Academic Honors three times, the WVIAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2012 and 2013 and awarded the Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Award as a senior.

During her time at Tiffin University she served as the assistant coach of their Varsity IHSA Team before becoming the Hunter/Jumper Instructor and IHSA/ANRC Coach at the University of Findlay from 2016-2019. Her time at Findlay includes Regional Team Championships in 2017-2019, Zone 6 Team Championships in 2017-2018, an 8th Place Team Finish at IHSA Nationals in 2018, a 12th Place Team Finish at IHSA Nationals in 2017, and many additional individual accolades at the Regional, Zone and National level.

In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, Alex has worked as a rider, trainer, and coach with various programs in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, and Canada. Most recently she was working at Skypoint Farm and Cedarwild Farm focusing on riding and training students and horses in the American Forward System of Riding. Additionally, Alex is a USHJA Certified Trainer and an IEA approved Judge/Steward.

Beverly Tipps

Stable Manager

E | btipps@sbc.edu
P | 434-381-6354

Beverly Tipps brings to SBC more than five years of experience working with the University of Mary Washington riding program at Hazelwild Farm. As barn manager at Hazelwild, she was responsible for the horses’ healthcare and all communications with clients. Tipps knows that “happy, sound horses are the first step to a successful riding program.”