May 8, 2009 -- Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) riders bested nine other colleges to win the team championship at the 2009 American National Riding Commission (ANRC) National Intercollegiate Equitation Championship hosted by St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg , N.C.. The competition took place on April 18 and 19 and was judged by Dacia Johnson of Monticello, FL, and Paddy Downing-Nygard, Thonotosassa, Fla. Ten colleges were represented: Centenary College (N.J.); Duke University (N.C.); Goucher College (Md.); Otterbein College (Ohio); Savannah College of Art and Design (Ga.); St. Andrew's Presbyterian College (N.C.); Sweet Briar College (Va.); and University of the South (Sewanee) (Tenn.); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA), and the College of William and Mary (Va.).
SCAD's Kels Bonham was the overall individual champion out of the thirty-six riders entered and received the Jon Conyers Memorial Trophy for her achievement. This year's championship was dedicated to the memory of Jon Conyers, former ANRC Intercollegiate Chair, teacher, coach, judge, and show manager, who influenced many equestrians and their horses during his 26 year career. Lindsay Mohr from Centenary was the overall individual reserve champion.
Sunny, cool weather and good footing provided ideal conditions as colleges showcased their most talented riders. The competition was judged and scored on four phases: (1) a Written Test (2) a Dressage Sportif (a program ride with USEF hunter equitation tests), (3) a Hunter Trials Equitation Phase over an outside course at 3' and (4) a Hunter Seat Medal Phase at 3'.
The written test phase was judged by Marion Lee from Leesburg , Va . The test included questions on Forward Riding Theory and this year's chosen topic: Conformation, Movement, and Soundness. Goucher College won the team competition for this phase and Caroline Taylor from St. Andrew's had the top score of 98.1.
The Dressage Sportif was held throughout the day on Saturday and while this phase moved at a slower pace, each rider anticipated their moment to perform the six-minute test they had carefully practiced and memorized. The judges scored each movement on the rider's ability to execute their flatwork with soft, precise control. The ride included a variety of transitions, a serpentine, counter canter, turn on the haunch, a trot fence, a canter fence, halt and back. Centenary rider Lindsay Mohr received the top score slightly ahead of SCAD's Kelse Bonham. Centenary College took the team honors in this phase, followed by SCAD and St. Andrews .
The Hunter Trials Phase was held in a large field allowing riders to show their horses' flowing stride between fences. The natural obstacles included a bank, stone wall, aiken, and a choice of two panels in an option fence. SCAD made a clean sweep of the individual top honors: Kels Bonham won with a score of 93.5, followed by Meredith Gallagher with 93 points and Chelsea McCarthy with a 92.5. SCAD was the top team in this phase, with Centenary College second and Sweet Briar College third.
For the final phase, R. Scot Evans of Annapolis, Md. designed a challenging course in St. Andrew's sizeable covered ring. Competitors aimed for an even and accurate ride over angled jumps, oxers, combinations, and one narrow fence. Kelse Bonham scored a 93 to win this phase and Centenary's Lindsay Mohr received a 92 to secure her a second place win overall. Kelly MacDonald of Sweet Briar College scored 90 to place third. SCAD won the team competition in the Hunt Seat Medal phase just ahead of Sweet Briar College .
All competitors received an "Excellence in Equitation" pin from the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) and the top ten scorers received a USHJA cap. Jennifer Elrod of Centenary College was selected for the 2009 USHJA Collegiate Amateur Rider Award by best representing the spirit of intercollegiate competition, outstanding horsemanship, and sportsmanship throughout. Peggy McElveen, Director of the St. Andrew's College Equestrian Program, was presented with an engraved plate as the recipient of the 2009 USHJA Affiliate Professional Service Award. This award is given annually by ANRC to the individual who has contributed significantly to the ANRC organization and has personified the Forward Riding System in their professional area. The ANRC Sportsmanship award went to Liz Harris of St. Andrews who cheerfully and competently manned the starting gate for all phases of the competition.
For more information, contact Patte Zumbrun, Goucher College , at email@example.com or (410) 337-6247.