Madison Thiel, South Carolina

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Waco, TX- The National Collegiate Equestrian Association announced its September Signature Academics Standout Student Athlete and Farnam Horse of the Month on Thursday, October 4.

Signature Academics Standout Student-Athlete

Every month the NCEA recognizes student-athletes for their accomplishments in the ring, however the NCEA would like to highlight athletes on their outstanding performances outside of the ring, including academics, philanthropy, outstanding attitude, and embodiment of an ideal teammate.


Name of Athlete: Madison Thiel

School & Year: University of South Carolina, Senior

Hometown: Dublin, Ohio

Major: Broadcast Journalism

Highlighted Accomplishments: 

  • Earned a team-high three MOP awards in horsemanship in 2017-18.
  • Named to the NCEA All-Academic First Team, SEC Winter Academic Honor Roll and the NCEA Academic Honor Roll her junior year.
  • Helped advance her horsemanship team to the NCEA quarterfinals at the end of the 2016-17 season, winning her last point of the year, 150-148.5.
  • Won her first point as a Gamecock on Oct. 2, 2015, against TCU, also earning MOP honors with an event high score at 73 in horsemanship.
  • Thiel has a total of 5 MOP awards in horsemanship with a 15-15-1 record.

Coach’s Comment: 

"Maddie holds a 3.72 GPA as a Broadcast Journalism Major with a minor in Psychology.  She is USC’s western Captain for the 18-19 season.  She has been a four year starter.  As a freshman she started in both reining and horsemanship.  Her sophomore and junior year she competed in horsemanship as a starter.  After spending the summer reining, Maddie will be a starter in horsemanship and reining this year.  To do that she has to practice twice the amount as the other western riders and she does so with no complaints.

Maddie was selected as a sophomore to be involved in the leadership academy for student athletes when the program was started.  That program is ongoing and she is completing her final year in the academy this year.  She was selected to participate in this program because she was recognized as someone with leadership qualities and potential.

She has committed herself to well over 20 hours of community service each year she has been here at USC doing such activities as Curing Kids Cancer Pony Pals Days, Grooming Horses for the Thoroughbred Retirement Center at Wateree Correctional Center, Feeding the Homeless with Transitions, Collecting food for Harvest Hope Food Bank,  Raising Money and pulling a Fire Truck for Curing Kids Cancer, Dance Marathon, Adopt a Family for the Holidays and Dog fostering.

She was selected by her teammates as captain for this year.  She demonstrates true leadership qualities and has helped redirect the team this year with a goal of being a disciplined team that has fun but is open and honest with each other.  She cares about each person on the team and makes an effort to get to know each one individually.

Maddie represents what it is to be a real team player and leader on our team and I highly recommend her as an NCEA student athlete of the month." - Boo Major


Farnam Horse of the Month

This highlight is focused towards an outstanding horse, not just one that gets high score every meet or an “MOP horse” but one that shows heart and represents the values of its respective school.

Name of Horse (Barn & Show Name): Ollie

Discipline: Equitation on the Flat

Donor: On Loan from Maggie Barton, University of South Carolina’s Barn Manager

Highlighted Accomplishments: 

  • Several MOP’s in 2017-18
  • Was used at 17-18 National Championship through semi-Finals
  • 17-18 was his first year being used on the flat and in our program
  • He goes barefooted…happily

Coach’s Comment: 

"Ollie was made available to us by our barn manager, Maggie Barton, when we had several horses come up lame and did not have enough horses for practice.  Ollie had not been ridden regularly in about six months, had no experience in a flat arena and had rarely been in a covered arena.  He had little if any show miles and was Maggie’s practice/school horse before she became our barn manager.   Maggie generously allowed us to use him.  After about a week of Ollie having lots of fun crowhopping,  balking, and shying we began to realize that Ollie was a great flat horse and a fast learner.  We knew he wasn’t 100% ready for all the hoopla of a meet but we had no choice but to use him due to the shortage of horses we had.  Maggie graciously allowed us to use him and he was a star.  We have not looked back with him since.  He competed at every meet in equitation on the flat last year once we started riding him.  He was not selected as one of the three horses to represent USC at SEC’s (We may have won our points with him in SEC competition throughout the year, I can’t remember!) but we used him as a demo horse.  We allowed a very nervous rider to do a demo with him and she “blew him up” warming him up.  Feeling extremely bad for him (and the rider). We allowed the rider to get on the second alternate and do one demo and allowed one of our seasoned riders hop on him and ride him around for a few minutes.  He was fine, so that rider was able to do a demo on Ollie as well and he was happy as a clam.

He was selected to go to Nationals.  We had no idea how he would be because he had never been in that type of environment.  He was super.  He was able to do all the tricks that he had learned within the school year and perform them well at the national championship without missing a beat.

Throughout the year, Ollie had a lump on the side of his neck that was getting larger and larger.  We used Ollie for camp and after our camp in midMay, we sent him to Tryon equine hospital to have the lump removed.  It ended up being a tumor that was entangled with his arteries and trachea so it was a tricky surgery.  Ollie faired well through the surgery but it was a long recovery.  We also found out the tumor was cancerous.  There is a chance the cancer was contained and entirely removed but also a chance it will come back.  We are hoping for the former.

Meanwhile – Ollie was ready for the 18-19 season to start.  And start it did.  Ollie has started up right where he left off.  He is flatting beautifully during practice and won MOP for USC rider Madison Brayman at USC’s first meet this fall besting her opponent by 4 points.

We think Ollie is a real team player and are most appreciative of him and Maggie for allowing us to use him. We think he is the best USC as our horse nominee for NCEA Horse of the Month." - Boo Major


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