An article in the latest issue of the The Chronicle of the Horse features Lynchburg’s equestrian program. Writer Laura Lemon spoke with Director of Riding Phillip Williamson and several student-athletes about the program’s success since his arrival in December 2020.
Under Williamson’s tutelage, Lynchburg riders have won an Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship and two back-to-back National Collegiate Equestrian Association single-discipline championships.
The program, which had shared facilities with other colleges since its inception in the 1980s, finally moved to its own riding center on the property of Patrick Henry Family Services in nearby Rustburg, Virginia, in December 2021.
During spring break in 2022, when Lemon visited, the team was cleaning and painting the new space to get it ready for the horses that would arrive that summer.
“It was probably one of my happiest moments, being surrounded by the team just laughing, working hard, and building what is now what we call home,” Kelley McCormick ’24 said, according to the article.
For years, Lynchburg fielded just an Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association team, operating out of other colleges’ stables and, at times, sharing both horses and coaches. In 2018, after the NCEA launched the single-discipline format, Lynchburg put together an NCEA team as well.
“We’ve taken advantage of having both the NCEA and the IHSA as ways to make sure that all our kids get to participate in a competition for the team while they’re in school,” Williamson told Lemon. “That’s really important to us.”
When Williamson took the job, Lynchburg had just six horses and about 16 riders. Today, the program boasts 47 student-athletes and 21 horses.