Hunter Seat, Western teams both capture champion ribbons
November 6, 2016 | Williamston, N.C.
Liberty University's equestrian program enjoyed another record-setting weekend, with its women's team winning both Hunter Seat and Western shows co-hosted by Old Dominion and North Carolina State, respectively, in Virginia Beach and Williamston, N.C., just outside of Raleigh.
"Six weeks ago, Liberty's Equestrian team had never won a horse show," said Jim Arrigon, executive director of Liberty's Equestrian Center. "We had new coaches, new facilities, new horses, but no winning tradition. Fast forward to the first weekend of November and you would see both the Hunter and Western teams bringing home Champion Team tri-color ribbons on the same weekend."
The Lady Flames Western team experienced break-out performances in its two-day show at Martin Community College. On Saturday, they finished in third place with 31 points — its highest score ever — just two points behind Region 5 leader St. Andrews and NC State, which tied for first with 33 points. Then on Sunday, Liberty earned its first victory in Western team history with 33 points, ahead of the runner-up Wolfpack's 29 points.
Liberty was led by two blue-ribbon performances from Anya DeVan, and single blue ribbons from junior Anna Davidson, senior Kayla Sims, and junior Avonlea Kisner, who won Liberty's first blue ribbon in Reining, the highest level of Western competition.
At the season's midpoint, the Lady Flames remain in third place overall behind St. Andrews and NC State. They will return to competition Jan. 28 for a show co-hosted by Campbell and Virginia Tech in Buies Creek, N.C.
|Riders who earned blue ribbons in the Lady Flames' fifth straight Region 4 win: (from left) Kaitlyn Tyler, Elizabeth Chenelle, Megan Brandt, and Amber Gayheart.|
Meanwhile, Liberty's Hunter Seat team won its fifth consecutive show, hosted by ODU, extending its lead in Region 4 to 38 points over second-place Mary Washington. The Lady Flames were paced by two blue-ribbon rides and 14 total points from senior team captain Elizabeth Chenelle, who won the tri-color Champion ribbon as the High Point rider for the event. Freshman Amber Gayheart earned blue and red ribbons for first- and second-place showings, and Liberty also received blue ribbons from freshmen Megan Brandt and Kaitlyn Tyler — both in their first collegiate shows for Liberty.
The Hunter Seat team now starts preparations for a "Holiday Tournament of Champions" event set for Dec. 3 at Stonegate Farm, home of the Ohio University equestrian team, near Athens, Ohio, and another "Tournament of Champions" show hosted by Emory University on Jan. 28. This is the first year for Liberty has been a part of the prestigious national-level tournament field, and the Lady Flames are in sixth place in the current point standings.