For the first time in the history of Sweet Briar College, the Vixens can claim a USEF/Cacchione Cup winning rider, as senior Makayla Benjamin rode away with the prestigious honor on Saturday morning at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.
Benjamin, of Leesburg, competed over two days in a field of 24 of the top collegiate riders in the nation over fences and on the flat for the USEF/Cacchione Cup, which is presented to the National Individual Hunter Seat High Point Rider.
After finishing the first two phases of competition with 162 points as eighth in the field, Benjamin competed against nine other riders on day two.
Riding for a final day in front of the judges, Benjamin was awarded with the top placing in the field to become the first Sweet Briar rider to win the USEF/Cacchione Cup at the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Nationals.
Phase one, on Friday morning, saw Benjamin dazzle over fences to a score of 83. Benjamin’s 83 was the third best score in the field, behind only Mollie Kowalchik of Mount Holyoke and Halle Kutsche of Kansas State.
Riding in phase two, on the flat, Benjamin was awarded a score of 79 and sat tied for 13th on the flat. Benjamin’s total score on day one, 162, was good for eighth in the field.
Leading the top 10 riders advancing to day two was Kowalchik with 170 points, one ahead of Kutsche.
Benjamin rode to impress on Sunday, leapfrogging seven riders to win the top honor in hunter seat riding.
Since 2006, Sweet Briar has sent three riders to IHSA Nationals in the Cacchione Cup, including two appearances by Olivia Smith. Jodie Weber finished fourth in 2006, while Smith’s best finish was in 2014 when she finished ninth.
Read more about Benjamin’s historic win here:
Makayla Benjamin Keeps IHSA In The Family On Last Day Of National Championships (The Chronicle of the Horse)
Sweet Briar College’s Makayla Benjamin wins Cacchione Cup at IHSA Nationals (Roanoke Equestrian)