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    SEC Equestrian Today: Friday, October 11

    No. 1 Georgia Grabs Win Over No. 3 South Carolina

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – Using strong performances by the Reining and Horsemanship squads, the No. 1 Georgia equestrian team grabbed a come-from-behind 9-9 (1,496-1,493) win over the third-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks at OneWood Farm in Blythewood, S.C., on Friday, Oct. 11. Georgia improves to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference action, while South Carolina falls to 4-1 overall and 0-1 in the SEC.

    Highlighting the win was two MOP performances by Georgia’s Heather Schmidt and Liza Finsness. Schmidt earned the honor in Horsemanship with a score of 77, while Finsness grabbed the award in Equitation on the Flat with her score of 79.

    South Carolina handed Georgia a 4-1 loss in Equitation over Fences. Amber Henter and Alexa Anthony took the first two points for the Gamecocks before Sarah Milliren scored Georgia’s first point of the day with a 77-72 win over Samantha Kraus. South Carolina scored the final two points, to take a 4-1 overall lead.

    The Bulldogs answered by scoring the first three points in Reining to tie the overall score at 4-4. McKenzie Lantz started the event with a 73.5-73 win over Layla Choate before Lauren Tieche rode to a 71-66 win over Sarah Bouchard. Charley Thiel followed with a 72.5-67 win over Jordan Brown that gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead in Reining. South Carolina’s Cody McMillion edged Lauren Garmon 73.5-72 for its first point in the event. Lindsey Cheek wrapped up the event by tying Johnna Letchworth 73.5-73.5 to seal the 3-1 Reining win for the Bulldogs and bring Georgia within one of South Carolina in the overall score at 5-4.

    South Carolina took a 3-2 win in Equitation on the Flat, allowing the Gamecocks to extend its lead to 8-6. Kelsey Hart and Anthony won the first two points before Kylee Arbuckle and Finsness scored back-to-back points to tie the event at two. Arbuckle earned a 73-72 win over Samantha Smith before Finsness picked up MOP-honors with a 79-75 win over Kraus. USC’s Katherine Schmidt sealed the win in Equitation on the Flat for the Gamecocks with a 76-74 win.

    Trailing 8-6 with all of the Horsemanship points up for grabs, Georgia scored three-straight points to take its first lead of the day at 9-6. Anna Sasser got things started with a 76-73 win over Katie Kopf before Paige Stawicki rode to a 76.5-74.5 win over of Abigail Pait that gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead in Horsemanship and tied the competition at eight. Schmidt then earned MOP honors with a 77-75.5 win over Letchworth for Georgia’s third point in a row that gave it the overall edge. Sara Parr and Samantha Chiodo rode to a draw, leaving one point on the table. Alison Cerasani picked up the meet-tying point with her 75.5-74 win. The strong scores on the Western side sealed Georgia’s win over the Gamecocks.

    Georgia returns to action on Friday, Nov. 8 when it hosts SEC foe Texas A&M at the UGA Equestrian Complex in Bishop, Ga. The meet is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

    No. 8 Texas A&M Equestrian Rallies to Top No. 10 SMU, 12-8

    BRYAN, Texas - The eighth-ranked Texas A&M equestrian team (1-1) rallied from an early deficit to its first win of the season, defeating No. 10 SMU (2-3) 12-8, Friday at the Brazos County Expo Complex.

    The Aggies at one point trailed the Mustangs 5-1, but mounted an impressive comeback to secure the victory, picking up three Most Outstanding Player (MOP) awards on the way.

    “I saw a lot of grit in our riders today,” Head Coach Tana McKay said. “I was proud of the way they thought after being down early in the show. There was significant improvement from last week’s competition across the board and I was really proud of how hard the riders worked to get there.”

    SMU finished the equitation over fences competition with a 4-1 lead. Sophomore Hannah Williams earned the Aggies’ lone victory in over fences.

    After winning the first head-to-head in horsemanship, the Mustangs stretched their lead to 5-1, but the run stopped there. Alyssa Soechting, Caroline Ammons and Logan Pluhar fought to back-to-back-to-back wins for the Aggies to bring the meet within one point. Pluhar’s performance inspired the first MOP performance of the season for Texas A&M.

    The equitation on the flat squad cruised to a 4-1 lead over SMU, balancing the hunter seat side of the competition at 5-5 and giving the Aggies an 8-7 edge as the meet entered its final event. Williams, Haley Buchmiller, Marlena Parker and Paige Russell had wins on the flat for A&M, and Buchmiller earned her first MOP of the year.

    The Aggies needed to score at least three points in reining to win the meet. Pluhar earned her second win of the day, and Ashley Dotson rode to the first MOP of her career to start things off. SMU took the third point, but Laura Sumrall and Sarah Kate Grider finished the meet off with wins to secure a 12-8 A&M victory.  

    Texas A&M hosts South Carolina at the Brazos County Expo Complex on Oct. 25 in the Aggies’ first Southeastern Conference (SEC) show of the season. To learn more about Texas A&M equestrian, log on to and follow @AggieEquestrian on Twitter.