A dozen Liberty riders show well in first event at Hollins
October 25, 2013 | Roanoke, Va.
Just three months after officially starting up, and less than a month after it audited an event at Randolph College, Liberty University's women's equestrian team competed in its first show Friday at Hollins University Riding Center's Kirby Riding Arena.
A total of 12 riders participated in nine different classes with various experience levels, and six placed in the top six out of 10 teams in the competition.
"Everything went very well today," Lady Flames head coach Caroline Trexler said. "It was a great first show. We got a third (place), a fourth, a couple fifths, and a couple sixths. They did such a good job. I could not be more proud of them. It was really, really exciting. They were spectacular."
Liberty's Mallory Walker finished third in the Walk-Trot-Canter Beginner class and Cecily Marker placed fourth in the Walk-Trot-Canter Advanced class to highlight the Lady Flames' performances.
Of the 10 teams competing from Region 2 of Zone 4 of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, Trexler expected that Bridgewater, Hollins, and Randolph finished in the top three, though the final scores have yet to be tabulated.
"Those are three schools with high standing, very developed programs and they showed excellently today," Trexler said. "They did very well. We've really got some great competition so it's exciting. We went in wanting to get our feet wet and the students were very positive and helpful. Everybody was a great representative of Liberty."
She was encouraged that the judges didn't look down on the Lady Flames as a first-year riding program, but scored all of the competitors fairly.
"Another component of the equestrian world that makes it a little more challenging is that it is very, very much a sport of opinion," Trexler said. "Being a new team, there's a component of almost having to pay your dues. But the judges were wonderful. Everything was fair and really encouraging."
Other schools in the very competitive region include Sweet Briar, James Madison University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Radford University, Roanoke College, the University of Virginia, and Washington & Lee University.
"There are some extraordinarily funded programs in our region so I could not have asked for a better day," Trexler said. "Some of the schools in this region are just spectacular equestrian schools. Their focal point is their equestrian program and they have truly exceptional teams. To be able to compete in the same arena with schools that have these longstanding facilities and programs was a great learning experience. It was a wonderful first opportunity to show and we are so looking forward to next week."
Liberty will travel to Bridgewater College next Saturday, Nov. 2, for another 10 a.m. show.
"We've got some goals to work on for our show next week," Trexler said. "We definitely have our work cut out for us in this region, but once we establish ourselves as a good, up-and-coming team, we'll be in really good shape."