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SBC Riding Program Welcomes ANRC National Championship Competitors to Campus

Horse Show Press Release

The Sweet Briar College Riding Program is hosting the Affiliated National Riding Commission (ANRC) National Championships on Saturday and Sunday, April 17 and 18 at Rogers Riding Center. The competition kicks off with an individual program ride at 7:30 a.m. Saturday (see full schedule below) and is free and open to the public.

Sweet Briar will have 10 to 14 teams from the Northeast, South, and Midwest attending the competition, which the College last hosted in 2000. Among the colleges and universities participating are Vanderbilt, Miami of Ohio, Kenyon, Goucher, St. Andrews, and Savannah College of Art and Design.

Six Sweet Briar students are competing, including Jodie Weber ’06, Karen Dennehy ’05, Lauren Wade ’05, Sarah Mouri ’06, Katie Barnett ’04, and Meg Shortlidge ’06. Anne Kenan from Dahlonga, Ga., and Dacia Funkhouser from Romney, Ind., will serve as judges.

Saturday’s competition features each rider performing a seven-minute program ride for an average of the judges’ scores. Sunday’s events begin with an Equitation Over Fences Medal Course in the outdoor arena and culminate on the Hunter Trials Course in the field below Monument Hill. Each rider is judged on their equitation over the courses and their scores averaged.

Shelby French, director of the SBC Riding Center, calls the ANRC event, which includes a written theory exam as well as three riding tests, "a complete test of horsemanship. I think that, aside from the competition, it’s a great learning experience for the riders. Everybody who walks away from it says they grew as a rider," she said. "It stretches them a little bit."

SBC rider Lauren Wade ’05 participated in the 2003 competition at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md., where Sweet Briar was the reserve champion team. She enjoyed the event as much for the camaraderie as the competition.

"It was a great experience," she said. "Last year was my first time to be part of the Sweet Briar team as a rider. It was great to be part of the team experience. It’s a bonding that riders in high school don’t get to be a part of."

Wade noted the advantages of having the competition on her home turf beyond just avoiding travel hassles. "I’m excited," she said. "It’s really nice they’re having it on campus this year. I won’t have to miss classes, and we’ll be able to have friends come support us as we compete."

While the Clinton, Miss., native admitted that right now she is most confident about the Stadium Equitation phase held on Sunday morning, Wade and her teammates are ready for everything.

"We compete very strongly and equally in all the phases," she said. "We’ve spent numerous hours preparing — lots of cold mornings."

In the days leading up to the competition, Sweet Briar riders will practice in the ring and groom their horses as fellow competitors arrive on campus. Regardless of the competition’s outcome, Wade said the culmination the event represents is a reward in itself.

"No matter what happens, it’s been a great year," she said. "We’ve all accomplished a lot. We have confidence going into this that we’ll ride well and do our best. We’ll see what happens."

Here is a tentative schedule of events:

Friday, April 16
5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. -- Coaches meeting
5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. -- Written phase
6:30 p.m.-7:45 p.m. -- Dinner for coaches and teams

Saturday, April 17
7:30 a.m. Demonstration Riders phase – Dressage Sportif
8 a.m. -- Dressage Sportif phase

Sunday, April 18
8 a.m.-- Stadium Equitation phase
11 a.m. -- Hunter Trials phase
3 p.m. -- Awards ceremony