Lauren Thompson, an eighth grade student at South Effingham Middle School, is once again on her way to represent her school and Evermore Farm in the Interscholastic Hunt Seat Equestrian Competition.
Thompson and her team are trained and coached by Eleanor Ellis of Evermore Farm in Brooklet.
The Interscholastic Association (IEA) is made up of middle and high school students who compete as individuals and teams. The teams are usually school-based teams, however, since our local schools do not have the equestrian sport, the IEA allows farm teams to be formed which include students from different local schools.
The IEA riding forum is patterned after the Intercollegiate Association in where the riders draw a horse and compete at different levels on an unfamiliar horse. They are judged on their ability and form to adjust to many different horses.
To reach the national level, Thompson competed and qualified at the local level and then moved on to compete at the regional level which was held at the College of Charleston.
At this competition she then qualified to compete at the southeast zone finals comprised of riders from Georgia, Mississippi, Florida and South Carolina held at Chateau Elan near Atlanta. Here she helped qualify her team to go on and compete at the national finals the first weekend in May at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.
Last year she was part of the middle school team who placed 10th at the IEA Nationals held in Springfield, Mass.
Thompson hopes that by being able to compete at this level and working to continue her high academic status throughout high school, she will be able to attend a prestigious college in the equestrian field.