Covenant Day School freshman Libby Bertelsen isissue240Libby
chasing success down a different path. While many
classmates play the traditional sports, Libby escapes
nearly every day to the horse farm to work with her favorite
horse “Begin The Dance,” AKA Danny. Libby,
the daughter of Kevin and Jenny Bertelsen began riding
horses at the young age of six.


“My first experience with horses was on the pony
rides at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC I was obsessed!
My mom rode when she was younger and
she was excited that I wanted to ride horses too. She
signed me up for lessons. As I got better and better
my parents first half leased a pony for me to ride, and
then eventually bought my first horse. I have always
loved horse shows and competing as an equestrian is
very exciting. I used to play softball but have devoted
myself to riding as it is now my main sport and it takes
a lot of time to train and be competitive.”


Let’s ask Libby to share more about the actual events she competes in.


“I am currently competing in an English discipline called “Hunt Seat”. I participate in the Hunter/Jumper
divisions and equitation divisions. In these disciplines you ride your horse over a set pattern of obstacles. There
are many things a judge looks for including pace, not knocking any jumps down, and rider position. To sum it up
you mostly want to make it look flawless and easy even though it is very difficult. I have also begun competing in
derbies. Derbies are given a score from the judge after your first round, and then if you make the cut, you come
back in for a “handy” round where you do a different course of jumps to show off how handily your horse can
maneuver. These courses often involve cantering, trot fences, and galloping.”


Libby also participates in IEA (Interscholastic Equestrian Association) which
mimics college riding. Teams compete against each other earning points. Participants
will draw a horse’s name from a hat and ride that horse, showing their
ability to adapt to different horses.


As with any sport, practice is the key to success. Libby can certainly qualify
as a dedicated rider, she trains with her horse six days a week.


“I ride my horse Danny, as well as any other horses I can get the opportunity
to ride. I take lessons two times a week with my trainer and participate in camps
and clinics throughout the year.”


This year Libby started competing in regionally rated horse shows. She was
named Reserve Champion at the Blue Ridge Hunter Jumper Association, and
finished in the top five for both South Carolina & North Carolina Hunter Jumper


“I competed at my favorite horse show venue, Tryon International Equestrian
Center where I won the Challenge Round. And recently I came in 5th place in
Camden in a hunter derby competing against many professionals. Danny works
hard for me and I am so proud of everything we have accomplished together this


Libby has set high goals for the next few years.


“I would like to become nationally ranked in my division and eventually compete
in the Maclay Finals. I would also like to ride for a varsity NCAA equestrian
program in college.


Libby also works hard in the classroom where she carries a 4.04 grade point
average at Covenant Day School. Libby is active in volunteering at the Project
658 Center, working with refugee children.


The South Charlotte Sports Report salutes Libby for riding down a different
path and chasing success in the Equestrian world. We wish you and Danny continued
success in your journey.