Allie Augustine dreams of riding as a member of the equestrian team at the University of South Carolina.
And after winning the South Carolina Hunter Jumper Association's Governor's Cup in Aiken earlier this month, she's hopeful her dream is that much closer to reality.
"It's going to look really great on college applications," said Augustine, a 17-year-old senior at Charleston County's School of the Arts. "I would love to ride on the equestrian team at USC. I haven't started applying (to colleges) yet, but if I could make it onto that team, I definitely would be going there. They're a really great team."
Augustine's riding instructor, Charles Hairfield of Seabrook Island Equestrian Center, said the Governor's Cup victory could be a big step in her achieving her goal.
"It could certainly help. She could certainly use that as part of her resume. This sets her apart from other riders," Hairfield said. "This was a win that she achieved only through hard work, dedication and commitment. She's put in countless hours practicing and showing."
Augustine was one of 14 riders to qualify for the event based on points accumulated throughout the year. The Cup was held Sept. 11 at Highfields Event Center as part of the Aiken Fall Festival.
The course for the first round featured forward lines, tight turns and interesting jumps that included split-rail fencing, coops and brush boxes. The top 10 after the first round competed in a flat phase.
Augustine, the daughter of Amy Langstone and stepdaughter of Alan Langstone of Mount Pleasant, said she felt good about her chances going into the competition, but her results in practice the day before the competition had her worried.
"I ended up winning the practice finals the day before, and that's usually the kiss of death," said Augustine, who was riding Icy London owned by Kiara Barnett.
"Horse riding is very difficult. You have to go in with the proper mindset and the horse you are riding has to be in that mindset as well. My horse, London, has been pretty good, so I was going in pretty confident."
Augustine said the hunter-jumper riding activity is based on the horse and rider as a combination. It is supposed to appear graceful and easy.
"I've been riding London for a couple of years and he has been a dream horse," she said.
Augustine said her love for riding began when she was about 7.
"I took a pony ride and fell in love. I've been doing it ever since," she said.
"I don't know whether I want a career in horses, but I think (riding) is something I'll always want to do. Maybe this will help me get amateur and professional status so I can ride people's horses for them."