At these shows, recognized by the Southwest Virginia Hunter/Jumper Association, Sweet Briar students and local horses and riders compete on the flat and over fences in equitation, jumper and hunter classes.
Sweet Briar hosts a variety of field riding events for riders of varying skill levels. Each semester, students have the opportunity to trail ride, enroll in field classes for all skills levels, experience mock optimum pacing, and jump natural fences in the field. A fall hunter trial and a hunter pace in the spring are open to qualified students, as well as outside exhibitors. At least once each semester, Bedford County Hunt brings hounds to Sweet Briar and students of the appropriate skill level may ride to hounds across our beautiful 2,840-acre campus. Come ride at Sweet Briar to experience the unforgettable thrill of partnering with a horse to ride through the woods, streams and across fields.
Sweet Briar and local horse and rider teams gallop and jump over natural-fence courses in judged trials. Competitive classes include a variety of fence heights and may be judged on the horse’s suitability as a field hunter or the rider’s equitation. Primarily, the horse’s manners and suitability for the hunt field are judged in the hunter classes of this competition. An equitation course gives riders a chance to demonstrate their form and skill over uneven terrain.
For this event, Sweet Briar students and local riders leave the ring and go cross-country for several miles through woods and open fields on the Sweet Briar campus. Riders team up in pairs or groups of three to complete the six- to eight-mile course, with optional fences, as close as possible to a predetermined optimum time. Riders may enter one of three divisions: trail, hill-topper or optimum time. Many local riders eagerly anticipate the chance to ride on Sweet Briar’s extensive trails and across its picturesque campus.
This traditional sport of riding to hounds emphasizes the thrill of the chase, not the kill. Bedford County Hunt meets at Sweet Briar College once or twice each semester, bringing its pack of hounds for a day of fellowship and good sport.
Riding Clinics Taught by Nationally Renowned Professionals
Each year, Sweet Briar brings in nationally renowned professionals to teach in the Sweet Briar College Riding Program. These visiting master teachers and guest lecturers enrich the curriculum and provide additional instructional opportunities for Sweet Briar students. Olympians Joe Fargis, George Morris, Melanie Smith Taylor, Lendon Gray and Bernie Traurig have all taught at Sweet Briar. Judy Richter, Patricia Heuckeroth, Scott Hofstetter, Mike Henaghan, R. Scot Evans, Paul Cronin (Sweet Briar riding director emeritus), Don Jessup (natural horseman) and Daniel Stewart (sports psychologist) have given lectures and clinics to Sweet Briar’s riding community.