|Makayla Benjamin is a sophomore at Sweet Briar College.
Photo via Sweet Briar College
Makayla Benjamin, a member of the equestrian team at Sweet Briar College, won the show jumping portion of the World University Equestrian Federation World Finals (AIEC-SRNC) in Marburg-Dagobertshausen, Germany. She was 3rd overall and Team USA was 5th overall.
Benjamin, a sophomore majoring in engineering from Leesburg, Virginia, is one of three riders representing the United States in Germany from Dec. 29 to Jan. 1. Fifteen countries are participating in the three-day competition.
The competition is broken into four stages, with the first stage having every rider competing in both dressage and show jumping. Then the field is cut down to 12 riders for another round of dressage and show jumping on different horses. The finals on New Years Eve consist of the top two riders competing on the same two horses.
“I am extremely proud of Makayla and thrilled that she has been given this opportunity,” said Sweet Briar Riding coach Mimi Wroten, director of riding at Sweet Briar. “Makayla is a dedicated, hard working, and talented rider whose focus, attention to detail, and determination will take her far in this competition.”
Selection for the team is based upon how well riders have done at previous competitions during the year. Benjamin traveled to Sweden during the summer for a competition in hopes that it would earn her a spot on Team USA for the world finals.
And thanks to connections she has made through the AIEC program, Benjamin is going to be spending two weeks working in Holland after the competition.”It’s just such a great community to be a part of and it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet so many people from around the world that all have a common goal,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin says that AIEC family is a very supportive group and she has felt welcome since her first competition. She is also very thankful for how supportive Sweet Briar has been in all her endeavors and pushing her to be better everyday.
Other media reports of this story:
- Sweet Briar rider to compete in equestrian World Finals: Lynchburg News & Advance
- Sweet Briar rider for Team USA makes it to second round in Germany: WSLS