Lander University's equestrian team finished in the top half of the 13 schools who competed against each other on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30 and 31, at Lander's Equestrian Center.
The participating schools are all members of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), which provides college riders the opportunity to compete in team and individual events.
The category of the competition is called "hunt seat," one of two classic forms of English riding in which both the horse and rider are judged on form and ability. On Saturday, the Lander team finished sixth overall and, on Sunday, the team finished third overall.
Lander freshman Anastasia George of Auburn, Ala., was judged the high point hunt seat rider, meaning she accumulated the most points in competitive riding over fences and on flat.
Lander equestrian coach Mary Hughston said she is very proud of her team's showing especially since it is a new team. "I'm really thrilled with their performance, and I'm proud of the team, the university and the equestrian center because it was a quality event." She said she heard as much from the other schools who were very impressed with the quality of both the equestrian center and its horses.
Lander president Dr. Daniel Ball described it as a beautiful sight. "Organized, elegant, well performed by students and horses alike and, quite frankly, I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride as if I was an actual participant."
Berry College of Georgia finished high point on Saturday while the University of South Carolina-Columbia was high point in Sunday's competition. Clemson University finished in second place both days.
This was the first time Lander has hosted the IHSA competition and, in addition to practice sessions, members of the university's equestrian team put in extra hours at the center working to finalize preparations for the event. The teams will not meet again until February 2011 when the next IHSA competition will be held at Berry College.
In addition to Lander, the schools that participated in last weekend's event include: Berry College; Clemson University; Converse College; Emory University; Furman University; Georgia State University; Georgia Tech; North Georgia College and State University; the University of Georgia; Judson College in Marion, Ala.; Kennesaw State University; and the University of South Carolina in Columbia and Aiken.
Over 8,000 students at nearly 400 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada participate in the IHSA.