Averett’s Equestrian Team Enjoys a Successful Competition Season


Jahna Waters, Editor

Averett’s Equestrian team has had a very successful 2022 season. Members of the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team and the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Competitions (IHSA) team both competed in the Regional tournament, some even making it to the national tournament. The Averett team placed at an impressive rank of sixth in the region without having a full team. 

Mia Hughes, a senior member of the IDA team reflects on her equestrian seasons at Averett. Hughes won her dressage seat equitation and was named regional champion for the 2022 season.

“I had to work really hard and stay diligent about what I was doing, never missing a practice, putting in the work outside of practice,” Hughes said. “This is my last season but IDA has definitely given me the confidence to know I can get on most any horse and ride it competently.”

Elizaveta Anikeeta, a senior member of both the IHSA and IDA teams was eager to compete in the national competition after her success in the regional competition and during the regular season. Anikeeva is an athlete to watch, as she won every competition she competed in in the fall semester of her senior year.

“I’m pretty excited to ride and try to capture that National Champion title,” Anikeeva said. “I’ve been a regional champion for all four years I’ve been in college and my first year I got 4th individual place at Nationals. My sophomore and junior year, IDA had canceled Nationals because of Covid so I haven’t gotten a chance for revenge yet.”

Anikeeva placed fourth in Limit Fences and Novice Flat and fifth in Intermediate Fences. Anikeeva represented the IDA team in the national tournament, placing seventh, achieving the revenge she was seeking.

There is a lot that goes on behind the barn doors contributing to the success of Averett’s equestrian team. Anikeeva balanced her sport along with her schoolwork by maintaining a demanding schedule.

“It takes a lot of hard work. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning, go ride two horses before my first class, come back, ride four more, go to the gym, then home and do homework. And it’s not only physical work but also lots of internal mental work. Equestrian sport seems easy to people because they think that the horse does all the job. If only they’d know how much labor is behind those beautiful tests that equestrians and their horses ride at competitions. Plus you have to take care of that 1200-pound animal. It has its own physical and physiological needs and it’s very fragile. So keeping them happy and healthy is lots of work,” Anikeeva said.

Notable achievements for the IDA team have been: 2019 Reserve National Champions, 2017 National Champions, and 2016 Reserve National Champions. The IHSA team has been successful as well, with riders qualifying for regionals each year.