Meredith Guider, Equestrian Team Member, Faces National Competition
May 9, 2008Mississippi College's equestrian team member Meredith Guider is one of the best riders in America.
This week in Los Angeles, the MC junior will be among 18 riders competing in the national collegiate championships, and find out how she and her horse measure up. The Utica resident competes in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's top national event starting Friday.
With MC beginning its equestrian program in fall 2007, Guider transferred from Virginia Intermont College where she was a top-notch rider a year ago.
Her success didn't happen overnight. "Meredith is an incredibly hard worker," said Jamie Martin, owner of the 2,000-acre Providence Hill Farm, home base for the Choctaws team. "She's been a working student at the barn. She gives lessons."
Guider's ability to land a spot in the national competition makes a strong statement about her dedication and MC's new program, Martin said. "Schools work for years to qualify for nationals," she said. "We got somebody right away."
In 2007-2008, MC faced collegiate teams in competitions stretching from Tennessee to Kentucky to Texas. More of the same is anticipated in 2008-2009, says MC equestrian Coach Mandy Callaway Powers. One difference is that men are expected to compete next year.
Having a new equestrian team is good for recruiting future MC students, Martin says. "We have 20 potential students who have looked at the program due to the riding team."
MC's equestrian program is in the spotlight this weekend in the same California city where star Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are bidding for another NBA championship.
Guider's horse named Hale Bopp didn't make the trip. But no matter what horse she rides in L.A., she's expected to impress equestrian fans and judges. The Hinds County resident is a veteran at age 20 who competed in 4-H shows growing up.
In a story May 8 in the Clarion-Ledger's Southern Style section, Martin, an attorney and former star rider during her collegiate days at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, was delighted that Providence Hill Farm in Hinds and Madison counties has played a big part in MC's program. But she doesn't take the credit. "It was a God thing," Martin told newspaper reporter Billy Watkins.
For her part, Guider is thrilled to be on her way to the national competition. "To be a junior in college and be able to live out your dream like this," Guider told The Clarion-Ledger. "That's goose bump stuff right there."