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    November 16, 2013 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Competing in their third and final event of the semester, Liberty University's first-year equestrian program landed its first individual champion and competed impressively overall Saturday in a 10-team show hosted by Sweet Briar College in nearby Amherst.

    "We had a really great day all around," Lady Flames Head Coach Caroline Trexler said. "We got our first first place, which was the big deal of the day. That was very encouraging."

    Emma Grace Moore smiles with her first-place ribbon after winning the Novice Over Fences class in the Lady Flames' third show of their first season, Saturday at Sweet Briar College.

    Liberty junior Emma Grace Moore, riding a rather unruly horse to master, placed first out of seven competitors in the Novice Over Fences class.

    "Emma had placed previously in another show (Nov. 2 at Bridgewater College)," Trexler said. "She had a really challenging draw and the horse she rode was very difficult. Her horse came with a list of special instructions, it had some problems, but she is a wonderful rider and she handled it extraordinarily well and won her class. That was awesome.

    "Drawing a challenging horse doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad draw," she added. "If you have a rider capable of pulling that excellence out of them, that will score very well."

    Liberty is in its first season competing in the Region 2 of Zone 4 in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, one of the most challenging regions in the nation.

    "We're working really hard to break into the region and to show that we could do well and are committed to being there and being successful," Trexler said. "We still have a long way to go, but getting first place goes a long way toward breaking into a region like that. It's a fairly long process in learning the ropes, and this is a big step toward showing we're working hard. It was a very encouraging day."

    Overall, the Lady Flames carried 17 riders to the show and had 10 compete in eight different classes and seven different divisions, from Walk-Trot Canter Beginner and Advanced to Novice, Intermediate, and Open Over Fences.

    Liberty also had third-, fifth-, and sixth-place finishes, with freshman Jordyn Tawney claiming third in her Beginner Walk-Trot Canter class.

    "She did an excellent job," Trexler said. "There was some challenging competition. Even in the less-experienced realms, it was still a tough group and she did a great job, an excellent job of handling her horse. She showed very, very well."

    Other schools at the show were host Sweet Briar College, Bridgewater College, Hollins University, James Madison University, Lynchburg College, Radford University, Roanoke College, the University of Virginia, and Washington & Lee University.

    "Everybody has been so wonderfully nice and at all of the shows, we have had the opportunity to ride excellent horses," Trexler said. "Sweet Briar's one of the more dominating schools in our region, but they were so friendly, helpful, encouraging."

    Liberty's next show is scheduled for Feb. 7 at Hollins before returning to Sweet Briar on Feb. 9 and Bridgewater Feb. 15. It will conclude its regular season Feb. 21 at UVA, seeking to qualify for the Feb. 22 Region 2 finals.


    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer