Senior Spotlight: Victoria Bauer
At age four, College of Charleston senior Victoria Bauer was sitting in her father’s lap reading the newspaper when she saw a picture of a girl on a horse jumping a cross rail. From that moment, she was obsessed with horses and the sport of equestrian.
Self-described as “super competitive,” Bauer was given the option of gymnastics or riding lessons at age six. She chose riding and two years later, she competed in her first show … and won.
“Dad took me all around town trying to find the best place for me,” Bauer said. “I loved it from day one, there was never a question. From the day I pointed at the picture in the paper until now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Like most places, opportunities to ride competitively in Bauer’s hometown of Santa Clarita, California, are limited and expensive. Riding for a club team through high school led her to a chance meeting with CofC equestrian head coach Bob Story in 2008.
“I knew I wanted to be a part of the program from that moment,” she said. “I had never been to Charleston, but I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”
Charleston would wait a while longer, however. After graduating high school, Bauer attended California State University, Northridge for two years and rode in just one show during that time.
“I was working as much as I could to pay to ride in a show. After I competed, I knew I wanted to continue to ride, so I applied to College of Charleston.”
The day her acceptance letter arrived in the mail, Bauer’s father began planning a flight for them to visit the college. Bauer quickly stopped him and told him that no visit was necessary; she was set on the move.
Fast forward three years, and Bauer is set to compete for the highest individual award the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) has to offer – the Cacchione Cup. Riders qualify to compete by accumulating the most points at local shows and by finishing in the top two in their class in the Regional Final.
Bauer did just that and will compete in the open fences and open flat portions at the IHSA Nationals in Lexington, Kentucky on May 5-7. Nearly 400 member colleges compete for a spot in IHSA Nationals while more than 9,000 riders have the opportunity to qualify for the Cacchione Cup.
It’s a unique opportunity for Bauer and the College of Charleston equestrian program. If Bauer claims the cup, it would mark the first time a school’s rider has repeated as Caccione Cup winner since CeCe Williamson won the competition for University of Virginia three consecutive years from 1981-83.
The College’s Eliza Hay walked away victorious in the Cacchoine Cup last year and Bauer says she learned a great deal from witnessing Hay’s experience.
“She had ice water in her veins, she didn’t let anything distract her or upset her,” Bauer said. “To me, that’s the biggest thing. I want to have a solid ride and know that I did my best. It’s going to be a fun experience; one I’m sure I’ll never forget.”