Horsing around at the equestrian Center meet and greet

There’s to be no horsin’ around on campus — that is, unless you’re at the Liberty Equestrian Center. 

At the charming entrance of Barn 1 at the Liberty Equestrian Center, students and families lined up at a table hosted by Campus Recreation to attend the horse meet and greet and scavenger hunt event Oct. 21. Students scanned Flames passes’ to enter into a raffle for the chance to win a free trail ride. 

After receiving the scavenger hunt sheet that was filled up with clever horse-themed riddles, students and families scoured the barns for clues. But amid all the clue-hunting, guests made some new four-legged friends. 

Stepping towards the first set of horse stalls, everyone could admire the beautiful pine woodwork that was built into every inch of the wide-open barn. There were rows of stalls on both sides of Barn 1, and several friendly horses popped their long, muscular necks outside their stalls. 

A tall, jet-black horse named Prince happily stepped towards the open part of his stall as families came closer. He patiently accepted any polite petting from the guests and leaned farther out of his stall to receive more love from the attendees. Another horse, known as Austin, was also eager to receive some attention and welcomed the petting of his chestnut mane by the kids at the event. 

Pickles, a brown and white paint horse also stood by, ready to encounter anybody willing to pat his soft head. Bella and Sierra, two miniature horses, nonchalantly awaited their turn to be petted and stood side-by-side in their stall. 

Settled in a different section of the center, two little goats named Figgy and Berdita awaited their turn for greetings. Stretching their little chins to the fence of their stall, the cheerful goats gazed at anyone willing to scratch their fluffy chins. While exploring more of the 380-acre property of the center, barn cats sauntered over to peaceful and sunny spots beside the barns. Each of the animals at the event were amiable and comfortable with meeting the guests. 

As the hunt continued, the students and families searched for any sign of a clue to solve the mystery. Most of the riddles included tough and quick-witted rhymes, which posed as a real challenge for the hunters. One riddle included lines about James Bond movies that would lead the attendees to discover the name of one of the horses in another barn. One riddle led the guests to discover the name of the headgear horse riders regularly used to protect against concussions. 

From riddles addressing the unique names of the horses, to teaching the guests about proper equestrian gear, the scavenger hunt and horse meet and greet proved to be a fun and informative occasion for all ages. 

This riding academy is recognized by the United States Hunter/Jumper Association (USHJA), the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) and several other nationwide associations for both English and Western riding disciplines. The Equestrian Center offers various summer camps and hayride events each year. 

“It is super therapeutic to just go up to the center and see the horses,” Julia Macchione, a senior English education major, said.

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Davis is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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