BuiesCreek, N.C.—Her steed Derrymor has taken Brittany Bridges, a Campbell University freshman, to remarkable heights in several equestrian championships and was named Horse of the Year for three consecutive years by the North Carolina Dressage and Combined Training Association (NCDCTA) and the United States Eventing Association (USEA).
Bridges and Derrymor, an Irish Sport Horse known for their incredible jumping ability, speed, intelligence and endurance, recently completed a Preliminary Long Format competition in Lexington, Va., where they placed third. And Bridges, who was often the only junior level rider competing against Olympic riders in the American Eventing Championships in Fairburn, Ga., placed a respectable 13th out of 25.
Of all her accomplishments Bridges said the Preliminary Long Format last May is the one of which she is most proud. It is especially daunting because it is more of an endurance challenge for both horse and rider. The competition consists of several events, including steeplechase, roads and tracks and cross country—all in one day. The horse has to be really fit.
“Not only is the long format rewarding because of how hard you work to get there, but also because you learn so much in the process,” she said. “You learn about your horse, yourself as a rider and about your sport.”
Bridges, who has owned Derrymor for four years, said the horse has taught her a lot of responsibility. “We’re really a team,” she said. “I take care of him and he takes care of me.”
But caring for her horse is really a joy for Bridges, who has been riding for 14 years.
“It all began when my mother signed me and my brother up for a summer riding camp. I stuck with it and my brother didn’t,” she said. “I fell in love with riding and became very motivated by it. I love the adrenaline rush.”
A pre-law major at Campbell, Bridges would like to one day specialize in domestic law. She is the daughter of Bill and Sandra Bridges of Sanford, N.C. Her older brother Will is 20 and her sister Katie is 8. Bridges’ riding coach is Karen MaHaffey of Erin Lea Farm in Sanford.
Photo Copy: Campbell freshman Brittany Bridges, horse Derrymor and riding coach Karen MaHaffey at the Preliminary Long Format Competition in May.