Sunday, February 4, 2018



DALLAS, Texas -- The spring season started in the best way possible for the University of South Carolina equestrian team as the Gamecocks knocked off No. 2 SMU, 12-7, at the Dallas Equestrian Center. The loss is the first of the season for the Mustangs (5-1), while the Gamecocks improve to 2-4 on the season.

The Gamecocks collected three of the day’s four MOP awards. Louisa Brackett earned two points in her collegiate debut and was the equitation on the flat MOP, while Madison Thiel won for horsemanship and Bailey Walters was the reining winner.

The morning started with equitation over fences, and SMU won four of the five points. The lone Gamecock victory came from Brackett, who scored a 76-71 win over Brett Burlington on Hamilton.

The Gamecocks rallied to win all five points in reining, surging into the lead. Caroline Gute defeated Keagan Snively on Mercedes, 71-69.5, and Jordan Scott rode Tinsel past Jill Pfisthner, 71.5-69.5. Paisley Roberts dropped Olivia Pakula on Jackie, 67-65.6, and Bridgett White handed Carolina the lead with a 68.5-68 win on Gregg. The sweep was completed by Walters, a 70.5-70 winner on Butter over Holly Lansidel.

The Gamecocks carried the momentum of reining into horsemanship, where they captured the first three points. Megan Overberg took down Michaela Dinger, 72-69, on Shirley, and Quinn Brandt scored a 72.5-69.5 win over Charlotte Shelby on Wayne. Thiel added a 74-70.5 triumph on Mo over Haylee Schoonover.

The Gamecocks needed two points from equitation on the flat to clinch the win, with the last event beginning just a few minutes after the start of horsemanship. Brackett grabbed her second point of the day with an 86-81 victory over Nora Gray on Webster, and Lizzie van der Walde clinched the Carolina win by toppling Lexi Murphy, 80-58, on Clover. Chloe Schmidt added the final point, an 83-69 win over Haley Zimmerman on Cassie.


  • With the win, the Gamecocks are now 8-3 all-time against SMU.
  • Walters is now a 10-time MOP, tops on the Carolina squad.
  • Thiel’s MOP win was her third in horsemanship and her fourth overall as a collegian.


"This was a great win for us. It’s always nice to win on the road and to beat a team ranked in the top-five. This was a great accomplishment. I was thrilled with Louisa Brackett; she was MOP on the flat after only practicing flat tests for the last three weeks. I was also proud to see our veterans step up. Our reiners really set the tone; they gave us a lot of confidence after a shaky start. That made me proud. We should carry plenty of momentum from this win into the next two weeks, where we have opportunities to earn SEC wins at home. I’m looking forward to it.”– Head Coach Boo Major


Carolina returns to One Wood Farm next Saturday to hose SEC rival Texas A&M. First ride in Blythewood is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.



STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 5 Auburn equestrian team capped a full weekend Saturday, defeating No. 3 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, 10-8. The Tigers improved to 4-3 on the year with the win.

“The team really rode great today,” head coach Greg Williams said. “Oklahoma State is a very good team so it was rewarding to get a win against them on the road. Coach Jessica Braswell and coach Mary Meneely are really getting the squad dialed in for this last stretch before the postseason.”

Auburn snapped the Cowgirls’ unbeaten streak at the Totusek Arena that dates back to the start of the 2016-17 season. OSU’s last loss at home came at the hands of the Tigers in March of 2016 where No. 1 AU picked up a 10-9 victory to close out the regular season.

The Equitation Over Fences corps kicked off the day with a dominating performance, beating the Cowgirls, 4-1. Freshman Taylor St. Jacques picked up her second MOP of the event this weekend as she topped Katie Schell, 83-77. Junior Caitlin Boyle earned with 84 points in her victory, while classmates Hayley Iannotti and Ashton Alexander scored 79 points each in their wins.

Horsemanship followed with another solid performance for Auburn, going 3-1 against OSU. Junior Lauren Diaz scored a season-best 76.5 points in her win over Kirsten Chamberland. Freshmen Taylor Searles and Deanna Green also earned their way into the win column, scoring 75.5 and 73.5 points, respectively. That point total for Searles was a career high. Redshirt junior Kelsey Jung tied her opponent, 72-72.

Auburn went into the half with a 7-2 lead. 

The Tigers picked up a pair of wins in Equitation on the Flat from Alexander and Boyle. Alexander defeated Maggie Drysch, 79-72, while Boyle topped Hannah Janson, 75-72.

Junior Betsy Brown secured the team win in Reining as she finished the weekend undefeated. Brown bested Danielle Cohen, 69.5-68.5.

The Tigers face another tough road trip, traveling to rival and No. 1 Georgia next weekend. Auburn and the Bulldogs will go head-to-head Feb. 10 in Bishop, Ga., with the first ride at 12 p.m. CT.



COLLEGE STATION – The No. 4 Texas A&M equestrian team downed No. 6 Fresno State, 12-6, Saturday in the spring home opener at the Hildebrand Equine Complex to snap a two-meet losing streak.

"It felt good to be at home and get back on a good note with a tough team. They have been tough, and they were tough when we played them in Fresno, so we knew we had our work cut out for us," head coach Tana McKay said. "It was the first meet back for the horses too, so we didn’t exactly know what we would see from them. We saw some more consistency that we didn’t see at TCU across the board.”

The Aggies (7-3, 2-1 SEC) started out with an early 3-1 lead following Equitation over Fences as Rhian Murphy scored the first point of the day with an 81-77 victory over Natalie Wendt, followed by Rachael Hake topping Sierra Swaffar, 78-75. Caroline Dance earned Texas A&M’s only MOP honor of the day after defeating Paige Pastorino, 84-76.

In the western arena, Texas A&M won Horsemanship, 3-1. The Maroon & White tallied three straight points with Sarah Orsak leading the way by outscoring Julia Kelly, 75-71.5. Ashley Davidson bettered Taylor Dixon, 75-71.5, before Bailey Cook earned a 74.5 to top Taeya Harle’s 66.5.

Heading into Equitation on Flat, the Aggies led 6-2 and extended their lead to 9-4. Maddie Swem notched the opening win after downing Swaffar, 83-72. Brianna Peddicord edged out Wendt, 86-85, before Alex Desiderio earned the highest scoring ride of the day with a 90, topping Brooke Nelson, 90-89.

In the final event, Texas A&M took Reining, 3-2. Kalee McCann earned her sixth victory of the season to lead the squad after outdoing Taylor Dixon, 68-67. Ashton Dunkel extended her undefeated mark on the season after earning a 67.5-66 win over Shea Gilson. Courtney Yohey concluded the meet by defeating Kara Gufstafson, 64-60.

The Aggies return to action Saturday, Feb. 10 as they travel to South Carolina. The meet will begin at 9 a.m. at One Wood Farm in Blythewood, S.C.



BISHOP, Ga. – Led by career-high performances from sophomores Sydney Hutchins and Maddy Darst, the top-ranked Georgia Bulldog equestrian team overtook Sweet Briar College 9-0 in the Hunt Seat competition on Saturday afternoon at the UGA Equestrian Complex.

"I am really impressed with our rides today and where they are going," Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig. "It was great to see everyone coming out and putting down very strong rides, having everything in the 80's is always a good day. That doesn't mean we need to take the foot off the gas at all, we have a great SEC competitor in Auburn coming next weekend, who is going to be very hungry. Where we are and the strength that we are showing is very impressive." 

Darst and Hutchins headlined the competition for Georgia with Most Outstanding Performance honors in Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences. With a career-topping score of 90, Hutchins became the first Georgia rider with a 90-point performance in Equitation Over Fences since Meg O'Mara in 2015. Darst, the 2017 SEC Freshman of the Year for Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences, also posted a career-high 91 in Equitation on the Flat.

Georgia started off strong in Equitation Over Fences, led by Hutchins' event-high score of 90. Georgia's senior captain Addy Cord earned the first Georgia point with a score of 83 to Aoife Magner's 76. Darst and Ali Tritschler followed for the next two Bulldog points, collecting respective performances of 88 and 87. After Hutchins' 90, junior Emma Mandarino closed out the fences sweep by edging Makayla Benjamin's 79 with an 80-point outing. 

In Equitation on the Flat, junior Madison Newman secured the first Bulldog point with an 87, topping Courtney Barry's 67. For the 7-0 margin, Cord slid past Benjamin's 83 by one point. Tritschler and Katie Balding tied with a score of 82, pushing the point, before Bridges used an 83 to best Emily Schlosberg's 66 for the 8-0 Georgia advantage. Darst sealed the meet with an event-high score of 91 against Lily Peterson's 65.

"What a great way to close it," Boenig said. "The horse that she drew is not the easiest of horses, so she had to really think through what her plan would be. What a great execution on a difficult horse with the last ride."

Up next, the top-ranked Bulldogs welcome the fifth-ranked Auburn Tigers to the UGA Equestrian Complex on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

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