The University of Georgia (UGA) has snapped up yet another intercollegiate win, this weekend at the Poplar Place Farm March Horse Trials. Competing alongside other southeastern teams including Auburn University, University of Alabama, Columbus State University and University of Kentucky, UGA dominated with two three-member teams, UGA Red, which won, and UGA Black, which finished fourth.
UGA Red was made up of all Training-level riders. Ariel Scholl and her own Civil Disobedience, Emily Cox and her own FR’s Check It Out Now and Clara Lenhart and her own Color Me Gold each contributed to the team’s winning cumulative result of 112.6 points. Scholl, who rode in the Training Rider division, and Cox, who competed in the Open Training Rider A, also finished the weekend as the first and second-placed intercollegiate riders, respectively.
“After a long weekend of competing, I was ecstatic to learn that the UGA Red Team won the Poplar Place Intercollegiate Team Challenge,” Cox, who is also the team’s president explained. “The Red team led the team challenge from start to finish. After dressage on Friday, we were all unsure of what the team standings would be like. At the end of dressage day, we realized we were leading the intercollegiate competition with less than 4 points separating us from second place.”
Scholl, Cox and Lenhart looked eagerly onto cross-country after sailing easily through the dressage. “The three of us were determined to hold it together throughout the weekend and bring one home for the team. With no drop score, the pressure was on,” she continued. Lenhard had two poles down with her 18-year-old Thoroughbred, and Cox had a rail with “Billy,” but the team still lead before the final phase.
“The Training division was the first to tackle the cross- country course on Sunday. We only had 10 points between us and the second-place collegiate team, so none of us could afford to have a stop,” Cox said. The three bulldawgs went on to add just 2.8 time penalties to their score, and clinching their wire-to-wire win. “After Ariel crossed the finish flags, we knew we had just won. It was a great feeling to have such success this weekend. We couldn’t be happier with the team results.”
Finishing on her dressage score at her Training level debut (34.1), Scholl and “Kai,” a 10-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred out of Flying Nightengale, were the leading pair individually. She bought the OTTB from her trainer at Full Moon Farm in Finksburg, Md. two years ago. “He had just started learning any kind of eventing skills when I got him and he can be a little immature so that first year was definitely exciting! Our first couple events we needed to follow other horses just to get into dressage warmup, he's come a very long way,” she said.
Scholl and Kai finished dressage with a score of 34.1, and after two faultless jump rounds, they finished the weekend on that score as well for second place in their horse trial division as well. “It was our first Training so although I had gone slow with Kai and was confident he was ready I was really more focused on his training than on the score. The whole team had a great weekend though and I'm thrilled I could do my part to help lead to our win!” she grinned.
Originally from Maryland, and relocated to Area III to attend school at the Athens, Ga. university. “Riding has been such a big part of my life for so long I couldn't imagine going away to college and losing that. I had also just really started my work with Kai and he had so much potential I didn't want to give that up to do equitation in college, so I definitely focused my college search on schools with eventing teams. I found out UGA had one of the most established and serious eventing teams as well as great academics and it just seemed perfect. I pretty much knew as soon as I visited the school that I wanted to come here,” Scholl explained. “The team here is incredible there are so many talented riders and just great people in general, I've learned so much and made some of my best friends. I definitely have no regrets about my decision!”
University of Alabama. Photo via University of Alabama's Eventing Team Facebook page.
The University of Alabama (UA) Team finished second this weekend with 133.8 penalty points. Caitlin Cobb and her own Gacela de la Noche finished their first Preliminary together with a few poles in the show jumping and some time on cross-country to finish sixth in their division. Sarah Wietbrok and her own Kickstart My Heart and Stephanie White and her own Le Revolution both competed in the Novice Rider division. Wietbrok had an unfortunate elimination in the show jumping after one of her strongest dressage rides to date, but teammate White won the division. Meagan Majchszak her own Imperial’s Catch had only one rail down for a sixth-place finish in the Open Training B division.
The team, which has its sights set on the second annual USEA Intercollegiate Championship in May, showed their school spirit in force this weekend. “Our team is very supportive of each other, regardless of whether your weekend is going well individually, and we all helped each other get ready to ride, painted Alabama As on the horse's butts for cross-country, and watched and cheered for each other,” said Majcheszak, who added they plan for another outing at Chattahoochee Hills next month before the championships at Virginia Horse Trials.
Auburn University. Photo via Auburn Eventing Team's Facebook Page.
Auburn University’s Orange team wrapped up a third-place finish. Kayley Bush and Cooper, Andrea Glazer and B Noble and Sallie Johnson riding both Matheaux and Things to Ponder rode for a team score of 135.9.
UGA’s second team, UGA Black, finished the weekend in fourth place. Karolina Sabonaityte and CSH Cyd Charisse, Johannah Crumpton and Rendition and Clarie McDowell riding Ann Haller’s Master of the House ended the weekend on a team score of 139.2.
Fifth place went to Columbus State University, which consisted of Aryanna Bishop, Olivia Perkins, Cassie Strickland and Erin Chalmers.
About the USEA Intercollegiate Program
In 2014, the USEA Board of Governors approved the creation of the Intercollegiate Eventing Program as an official program of the USEA. Originally proposed with input from the Intercollegiate Eventing League, the program was established to provide a framework on which eventing teams and individual competition could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. Click here to see if your school is an University Affiliate.
Don’t forget if you have not yet renewed your membership with the USEA – Collegiate members get a $25 discount! Log onto your Online Services Account to renew, and a $25 refund will be issued after the USEA has received proof of enrollment.
Each year every member of the USEA receives a nomination ballot to submit nominees to the Board of Governors and during the Annual Meeting of Members, all members are invited to vote for those individuals nominated to serve. All members receive a proxy to vote for their chosen representatives for those unable to attend the Annual Meeting of Members. The only restriction for Board membership is that they must be USEA members. There are 10 positions representing each Area of the country and 11 at-large positions with no other restrictions.
Effective Dec. 1, 2023, USEF rule EV145.8 will require, whenever possible, new cross-country obstacles (for which frangible devices are appropriate) to be constructed with FEI approved frangible technology for the Training level and above (previously it was Modified and above).
The Ram Tap Horse Park Horse Trials hosted the final USEA Classic Series Event of the year this past weekend in Fresno, California. The event offered three traditional long-format divisions at the Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training levels. Meet the final USEA Classic Series champions of 2024 below.
Joan Harper didn’t get her chance to shine in the saddle until she was in her 50s. A lifelong horse lover, Harper trail rode and played around at a few 4-H horse shows in her younger years, but after her daughter was introduced to Pony Club, Harper started soaking up everything she could about the sport, eventually becoming a prominent face in the North Carolina eventing community as a top-tier volunteer and course decorator.