Equestrian camps give riders the reins, keys to Liberty’s campus
The Liberty University Equestrian Center hosted two camps this month, an Advanced Camp for high school riders from June 14-17 and a Beginner’s Camp for riders ages 8-12 last Tuesday through Friday.
“We always look forward to having new faces come in for camp each summer,” Liberty Head Coach and Director of Equestrian Programs Suzanne Flaig said, noting that the advance camp is geared toward those with previous riding experience. “Some of them have an interest in being on one of our equestrian teams when they come into college, so it’s a great opportunity for us to meet them and to show them all of the great things that Liberty has to offer, including the equestrian center, and what our program is all about.”
Last week’s introductory camp was another opportunity to showcase the facilities Liberty has to offer to beginning riders, nurturing a passion for the equestrian sports.
“We hope even from that group that we start to plant that seed of curiosity of wanting to be around the horses and learn and continue to grow in that,” Flaig said. “We never know in the future where our next equestrian team members will come from. Certainly, we have lots of repeat students that will take camp and it will be fun to watch them kind of progress through their elementary, middle school, and high school years and hopefully end up at Liberty someday.”
Liberty Equestrian Assistant Director of Operations Kimi Counts said it was a blessing to have campers back around the barn.
“It’s been quiet for a few weeks without students here, so it was good to see some life around, get the horses ridden, do some fun teaching and activities, see the kids out of school and off to a great summer, and have a couple of our (student-athlete) counselors come back,” she said. “Just showing off our amazing facility and our horses was a really neat opportunity.”
While they spent most of their time at the equestrian center, campers were treated to a full campus experience.
“We eat every meal in the (The Food Court at Reber-Thomas)… like a regular student would,” Counts said. “They stay in the (Residential) Commons dorms so they get to see what it’s like living in that environment if they’re not used to it, experiencing it before they come to college.”
“Outside of the Equestrian Center, they get to see all sorts of programs that are unique to this university, so it’s great to see them on campus enjoying themselves,” Counts said.
On July 30, the Liberty Equestrian Center will host the equestrian events of the Commonwealth Games, Virginia’s annual state games hosted by Liberty. Then, from Aug. 1-5, it will wrap up its summer schedule by hosting an Intermediate Camp for ages 8-14.
Video by Pat Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media