University of Lynchburg is pleased to announce the expansion of its Equestrian Program. The College has hired Merrilee “Mimi” Wroten, the longtime coach at Sweet Briar College, as the Director of Riding.
This expansion will allow LC to grow its Equestrian Program offerings for current and future LC student riders. It also presents an opportunity for students of Sweet Briar to continue learning from their current coach and instructor in Central Virginia. University of Lynchburg is one of several colleges with an official “teach-out” agreement for Sweet Briar students who must transfer when Sweet Briar closes at the end of this academic year.
“We are thrilled to offer more opportunities to University of Lynchburg students who want to participate in riding at the collegiate level,” said University of Lynchburg Director of Athletics Jon Waters. “Mimi has a track record of helping riders excel, as evidenced by her team’s outstanding accomplishments. She is the perfect person to lead the growth of our Equestrian Program and continue the excellence that the Central Virginia riding community has come to expect.”
“University of Lynchburg has a tradition of athletic accomplishments at the local, state, and national level,” said LC President Dr. Kenneth R. Garren. “We are excited about the ways Mimi can help our Equestrian Program grow, thrive and compete.”
Waters began exploring opportunities for expanding the program last fall, when the College saw an increased number of prospective students who were interested in riding. After Sweet Briar announced its difficult decision to close, he approached Wroten about coming to LC.
The College is finalizing an agreement with Thistledown Farm, located 20 minutes from campus in the Boonsboro area of Lynchburg, to host its Equestrian Program. The College is gauging interest and determining other resources, including horses, to be acquired for the program. Wroten will finish her existing obligations with SBC before she begins her new role at LC.
“As Jon shared his vision of expanding the University of Lynchburg riding program, it became apparent that a unique opportunity existed to enhance collegiate riding at a local college, provide continuity of instruction for Sweet Briar students and preserve many of the principles of excellence that the Sweet Briar riding tradition was founded upon,” said Wroten. “I see this as a unique opportunity to continue to serve the central Virginia area and the horse world with the same spirit and ideals that made our program unique.”
A 1993 graduate of Sweet Briar College, Wroten taught and rode professionally in New Jersey before returning to Virginia and becoming a member of SBC’s highly acclaimed Riding Program. She became director of that program in 2011.
Wroten has been active in the equestrian community on a national level as the coach of award-winning teams, including an individual national champion and national reserve champion in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association; multiple Old Dominion Athletic Conference champion and reserve champion teams; and several American National Riding Committee champion and reserve champion teams.
More information about the expansion of the University of Lynchburg Equestrian Program is available at lynchburgequestrian.com.