Riding to ODACS

Peter Rathmell, Staff Writer

RidingPhoto Courtesy of W&L Sports Information

Led by an abundance of young talent, the Washington and Lee Equestrian Team is sending three sophomores and a junior to the ODAC conference show next weekend.

Captain Laura Lemon, ‘16, Mary Crowgey, ‘17, Ashley Ooms, ‘17 and Caleigh Wells, ‘17, are all set to represent the Generals at the Virginia Horse Center on April 2.

“Our motto for ODACs has just been to ride consistently,” said Lemon.

Wells and Lemon both rode for the Generals at ODACs last year when they placed first in the conference.

“We won last year and it would be really cool to repeat,” said Crowgey.

The show will not be a cakewalk, though.  The ODAC is an extremely strong conference as schools like Sweet Briar College and Randolph College have major riding programs, says Jane Chiavelli, ‘18.

This show will mark Sweet Briar’s last competition in the ODAC, as the school is set to close when the year ends.

The future looks very bright for the Generals.  Although the sophomore class is receiving most of the accolades, the freshman class has been very strong as well.

Freshmen Chiavelli, Liza Allner and Maddie Schaffer have all shown promise in shows this year.  This is also Crowgey’s first year on the team.

“Caleigh won Rookie of the Year last year and I know it’s a big goal but I hope I can win it this year,” said Crowgey.

The Generals went into this year looking at it as a rebuilding year.  They lost four seniors to graduation and more than half of the riders are first-years and sophomores.  Despite the adversity, the Generals have managed to have a very successful season, winning one show outright and placing in the top half in many others.

“Our coaches are torturing us, but in a loving way,” said Lemon about their rigorous training regimen.

They are practicing one more day per week than they did in the regular season and the coaches took away the rider’s stirrups, making it harder for them to control the horse and vastly improving their fundamental skills.

“If I ride like I’ve been riding, I’ll have fun,” Lemon said. “My main goal is to ride better and have a good experience.”