Area V currently has three universities with a collegiate eventing program – Texas A&M University, The University of Texas, and Texas Christian University – and they finally got the chance to go head-to-head last month at Pine Hill Horse Trials, with Texas A&M playing host to the first collegiate challenge hosted in the Area.
Three teams competed in the challenge. The Texas A&M Maroon Team, Kate Boggan, Savannah Welch, Tessa Guerra and Meag Threadgill took the leading position on a final team score of 113.6. This group also boasted the two individual highest scoring collegiate riders, Tessa Guerra and Savannah Welch. Tessa Guerra finished as the top intercollegiate rider with her own Walk in the Park, a 12-year-old Appendix gelding. Formerly a hunter rider, this was Guerra’s first horse trial and in addition to her individual collegiate win, she also took home the blue ribbon in her Beginner Novice division, ending the weekend on her dressage score (31.8).
Tessa Guerra and Walk in the Park. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Eventing.
Texas A&M/ TCU Scramble Team Darcy Loupot, Allie Morrison, Emily Crews and TCU rider Elise Hunt, took second with their team score of 134, and Texas A&M White Team made up of Hannah Ayoub, Grace Craven, Sierra Roney and Erin Posey took third place. In the future we hope more schools will send riders and intercollegiate eventing continues to grow in Area V.
It was a very special weekend for Texas A&M Eventing. The program was founded this past spring and this was the first competition they’ve done as a team.
Team Awards. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Eventing.
Team President Kate Boggan shared this,
“To see all of the hard work we’ve put into this program come together at Pine Hill was a very proud moment for me and the rest of the team.
Most of us never had the chance to be on a young rider team or be on an NCAA Equestrian team and many including myself never played sports in high school. The Intercollegiate Eventing Program provides that team experience we would have otherwise missed out on. Having teammates cheering for you all day and supporting one another made a very unique show environment. It was such a fun experience and I’m so thankful for this opportunity to be a part of such a great group of girls. Everyone’s families came out wearing Aggie hats and shirts and had food set up for us. Even the week leading up to the show was a fun organized chaos. Members loaned equipment out to each other and helped teach a bunch of our first timers how to braid.
Kate Boggan and Louisianadecision. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Eventing.
I’m so pleased with the turnout we had. Not only did we have eleven riders competing but about ten other girls came to take pictures, groom, run our tack sale fundraiser and just support everyone. We have several members brand new to the sport so it was a great opportunity for them to see eventing in action first hand. We also had two first time eventers compete in the team challenge. Tess Guerra and Meag Threadgill are both former hunters who decided to give eventing a try when we created the team. Tess wound up winning her Beginner Novice division!”
We cannot thank Ruth Sawin, owner and organizer, and all the other staff and volunteers at Pine Hill enough for putting on such a wonderful event and enthusiastically supporting the growing Intercollegiate Program. We hope to get more events in the area to host team challenges in the future and are so grateful to Pine Hill for being the first to add us to their program.
Full results are available online.
The Texas A&M team has an ongoing schedule of events throughout the year, including a clinic with Clark Montgomery on December 16 at MeadowCreek (Kosse, TX). The Aggie Eventers also hope to host a second collegiate challenge at MeadowCreek in March 2017, and would love to have many more schools in attendance! You can find out more about the A&M team on their website or Facebook page.
USEA’s collegiate eventing program is an incredibly positive development for the future of the sport, helping promising young riders balance their education with their passion rather than having to choose between the two. If you are a rider who would like to join a team or start one at your school, check out the resources available on the USEA website. If you are an event organizer who would like to add a collegiate challenge to your show, contact Kate Lokey at [email protected] or (703) 779-9897.