Apr. 23, 2009 - Mississippi College equestrian star Meredith Guider finished her season Thursday as the nation's seventh best rider.
A senior from Utica, Guider, 21, faced strong competition in the Nationals at Middle Tennessee State University. "She rode very well," said interim coach Becky Baumel, who joined her on the trip to Murfreesboro.
In the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's Nationals, there were 18 of America's top riders competing. Guider was in the individual, novice and over the fences category.
"I feel like I rode well and stepped up to meet the competition,'' Guider said upon her return to the Clinton campus. "I ended my undergraduate IHSA career on a good note and was excited with the result,'' she said.
To land in seventh-place "is very good for her," said Baumel, a former star rider a couple of seasons ago at Findlay University in Ohio.
"Meredith came to us two years ago having barely jumped,'' said Jamie Martin, owner of Providence Hill Farm, headquarters of the MC equestrian team. At Thursday's Nationals "she stepped up to a whole new division and finished 7th in over the fences - that's phenomenal.''
In just a couple of seasons, Guider went from a beginner level to a third level. The Utica resident also works at Providence Hill Farm six days a week.
In May 2008, Guider finished 4th at the IHSA Nationals in Los Angeles. The Hinds County native grew up around horse shows at the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson. She plans to return to MC and compete this fall and graduate in December 2009 with a degree in business.
At the Nationals in Tennessee, Guider borrowed a horse named Hamlet from Baumel's alma mater. She was competing against talented riders from such schools as Virginia Tech, Findlay, Virginia Intermont, Georgia Southern and Kent State.
Guider turned in a solid performance at the regional zone events in Georgia to punch her ticket to the Nationals at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association includes 315 colleges and universities competing with teams featuring a roster of 6,200 riders. It makes the IHSA the largest collegiate equestrian organization in the world.