Western, Hunt Seat riders saddle up for IHSA Semis, Zone 4
March 14, 2018 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's Hunt Seat equestrian team had the opportunity to host two shows last month at the Liberty Equestrian Center, including the Feb. 24-25 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Region 4 individual championships, when it was represented by 10 team members. Riders qualified for five divisions of the Zone 4 championships, to be hosted by Virginia Tech on April 7 in Blacksburg, Va.
Junior Kendall Burdette (Intermediate Flat), sophomore Amber Gayheart (Intermediate Fences and Novice Flat), and senior Claire Gill (Walk-Trot-Canter) qualified as champions while Flames junior Ryan Wambolt finished as reserve champion in the Walk-Trot division, for a total of five zone qualifiers.
"That was the highest number we've had for Hunt Seat Regionals," Liberty Equestrian Center Director and Hunt Seat Head Coach Suzanne Flaig said.
"Since it was CFAW (College For A Weekend), we had a ton of people here watching us, so that put on a little more pressure, but it was fun and we all did really well," Gayheart added.
The Western team, meanwhile, competed at its Region 4 show at St. Andrew's University, where it qualified two Lady Flames — junior Erin Mays and sophomore Brianna Bass — for this Saturday's and Sunday's IHSA National Semifinals hosted by West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.
"We were really excited," said Mays, who qualified out of the Novice division. "It was only a half-point difference between the top three riders so it was a really hard show and a really hard class and we were really excited to come out ahead."
Riders from both the Hunt Seat and Western teams will be in contention to advance to the May 3-6 IHSA National Championships in Harrisburg, Pa.
"As a Western program, we really have had a successful year, especially individually," Liberty Western Head Coach Lauren Eagles said. "We are peaking at the right time, coming into the postseason with everyone riding their best."