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Equestrianism Takes Over SEC

UGA Equestrian Team’s Members work hard to keep up their busy competetion scheadule, attending shows every week of the season. Photo used with permission by Hallie Kitay, member of the UGA team.

UGA Equestrian Team’s Members work hard to keep up their busy competetion scheadule, attending shows every week of the season. Photo used with permission by Hallie Kitay, member of the UGA team.

Natalie Wilson, Associative Editor

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Up until last year, the University of Mississippi was the only SEC university without an official Interscholastic Equestrian Team since the conference adopted the sport in 2013. Thanks to Colleen Stimola, a student passionate for equal recognition of her sport, the “Ole Miss Equestrian Club” began its journey this 2015-2016 school year.

In an interview with Oxford Eagle, Stimola said, “Based upon the interest in an equestrian team, it is clearly something the campus needs. Ole Miss loves to rival the other SEC schools, and this is just another way to do so.”

Recently, many schools have either created or begun promoting their already existing equestrian clubs into official SEC teams. Our very own University of Georgia established the “UGA Equestrian Club” in 2002, and since 2013, has become No. 2 in the SEC. In 14 years, they have tripled their roster from 24 to nearly 70, and more than quadrupled their numbers of horses from 12 to over 60.

Megan Boeing, UGA’s first and only Equestrian Head Coach, led the team to the national crown at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in Texas in their very first year of competition. In 2013-2014, Boeing put eleven riders on All-SEC teams, claimed six of a possible eight SEC Rider of the Year honors, had seven riders earn NCEA All-America honors and 13 named to NCEA Academic All-America Teams, and at the national championship, saw two UGA riders earn Most Outstanding Player awards and three riders named to the NCEA All-Championship team.

Needless to say, UGA has developed a very competitive team of riders, ranking No. 1 in pre-season polls for four years straight and finishing the season as either champions or reserve champions at nationals for the last nine seasons.

Fourteen 2016-2017 freshmen signed to the team, welcomed with competitive résumés.   Boeing says the UGA team looks forward to their “combination of academics, athletics, great attitude and Bulldog loyalty that is outstanding and will breed many things for a successful future.”

Equestrians from all universities are no doubt an oncoming force, and have earned representation by the SEC. Best wishes to “Ole Miss Equestrian Club” as they join the conference and create plans for an on-campus riding/boarding facility.

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Equestrianism Takes Over SEC