Converse College announces the hire of Amelia Nowicki as coach for the Valkyries equestrian program. Nowicki is owner and operator of Hidden Valley Farm in Inman, S.C., a hunter/jumper boarding and training facility that will become home to the Converse program. She begins her duties immediately with the team, which placed third in their first competition of the season, the Georgia Southern Fall Invitational.
An experienced rider and trainer who competed at the University of Georgia, Nowicki provides hunter, jumper, equitation and horsemanship training for both horse and rider at Hidden Valley Farm. She has also ridden and taught for Kelly Kocher at Blockhouse Sporthorses.
"Amelia Nowicki is an excellent addition to Valkyries athletics and I am confident she will lead our equestrian program to a level of excellence that attracts the highest caliber athletes," said Converse athletic director Jennifer Bell. "Our athletes recently began training with Amelia and are highly complimentary of her coaching. Amelia's intercollegiate riding experience with UGA's prestigious program will greatly benefit their development and competition. Additionally, Hidden Valley Farm is a top-quality facility located close to campus, and this new partnership opens up a world of opportunities for Converse to host events and to build excitement and support within the broader community."
Nowicki grew up riding in Atlanta, Ga. with Sunny Stevens, recipient of the Old Salem Lifetime Achievement Award. She went on to study Equine Science at the University of Georgia while competing on the college's Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team, with which she qualified for and ribboned at IHSA Nationals. At UGA, she rode with 'R' hunter judge and trainer Kat Demas Mulkey, and assisted former Grand Prix rider Kylee Johnson-Duberstein with teaching students and training young horses. She also worked with international show jumping rider Callan Solem of Callan Solem Show Stables in PA, learning to care for high level sport horses.
"I am thrilled to be coaching the Converse College equestrian team and for Hidden Valley Farm to become the program's new home," Nowicki said. "As a former IHSA rider, I am excited to become involved in collegiate riding again and to train the Converse athletes as we build this program together. This is a great group of ladies, and I can't wait to see them grow as a team and in their riding."
Hidden Valley Farm is housed on 20 acres of land adjacent to Lake Bowen. The vintage barn dates to the early 1900s and was completely remodeled by the Nowicki family in 2016. The barn has ten matted stalls, three wash stalls, two grooming stalls, a tack room, a bathroom with laundry, and a feed room and office. The property features ten single or double turnout pastures, a 150×250 sand outdoor ring with a full jumper course, a large grass jump field with natural jumps, and a trail that leads to the back of the property.
The Converse equestrian team competed against several NCAA Division I schools and collected an overall 3rd place finish during their first season competition at the Georgia Southern Invitational. Converse earned three first-place finishes, two second place, four third place, and three fourth place finishes. The team will compete later this month at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, then resume competition in February.