WACO, Texas — For the first time in history, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s Equestrian team traveled to the White House for a ceremony honoring its accomplishments.

On Friday, Nov. 17, President Donald J. Trump recognized the Texas A&M Equestrian Team for besting a field of 12 other NCAA Equestrian teams to capture the 2017 National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) National Championship. During the ceremony, the Texas A&M Aggies presented President Trump with a custom pair of Anderson Bean cowboy boots personalized with the Texas A&M logo.

Chester, N.J. native Alex Desiderio is a member of the Texas A&M Equestrian team. At the championships, held in April, Desiderio won all four of her rides in the flat class and won two over fences classes.

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Members of the National Champion Texas A&M team attended the Nov. 17 ceremony along with head coach Tana McKay and Senior Associate Athletic Director, Kevin Hurley. The team also had a chance to tour the Capitol guided by U.S. Representative Bill Flores of Texas.

“This was a tremendous experience for our student-athletes and my team, staff and I are humbled and honored to have had this opportunity,” McKay said. “This is an exciting time to be part of NCAA Equestrian and to be recognized at this level means so much to me and is a credit to the work the NCEA has been doing to grow the sport.”

The White House has a long standing tradition of honoring national championship teams, dating back to 1865.

“We are thrilled that the White House has recognized the sport of Equestrian by honoring the Texas A&M Aggies on their 2017 national championship title,” NCEA Executive Director Dr. Leah Fiorentino said. “These young women are excellent models of the finest student-athletes in the nation and are strong ambassadors for the sport of Equestrian at the collegiate level.”

The NCEA titles the National Championship award based on a bracket style tournament where the winning team advances to the next round. Riders from two teams compete on the same horse and earn scores from a panel of judges during the head-to head competition. The judges score each ride and the higher score earns a point for the team. The Texas A&M Equestrian team is comprised of elite caliber riders who compete in two disciplines, Hunter Seat and Western. The Hunter Seat riders compete in over-fence work and flat-work, whereas the Western riders compete in reining and horsemanship classes.

“The National Champion Texas A&M Aggies take tremendous pride in carrying the NCEA championship banner, representing all the riders across the country in collegiate equestrian,” said Kevin Hurley, a longtime advocate for collegiate equestrian and critical to the expansion of the sport across the nation. “As we continue to grow our sport, we are grateful for opportunities of this stature to nationally showcase our young women as role models in our sport.” 

No. 1 Georgia Finishes Fall Undefeated

FELTON, Del. — The top-ranked Georgia equestrian team finished the fall portion of its schedule undefeated after riding to a 13-7 victory over Delaware State on Nov. 17 at the Dovington Training Center.  With the win, Georgia improves to 6-0 on the season.

DSU’s Zoe Kirsch, a freshman from Pittstown, N.J. posted a solid mark of 76 aboard “PJ,” but Georgia’s Maddy Darst was better, tallying 80 points to win Most Outstanding Performer on the Flat.

Emily Nelson, a senior from Glenville, Pa. earned a win for the Hornets in Fences with a score of 75.

No. 4 Auburn Earns 13-6 Road Win at No. 10 South Carolina

AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 4 Auburn equestrian team closed out the fall season with a statement, topping No. 10 South Carolina on the road, 13-6. The win moved the Tigers to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference.

Sophomore Kara Kaufmann of Belvidere, N.J. rode to a tie with Megan Overberg, earning 77.5 points for her ride.

For South Carolina Lauren Fabiano of Malvern, Pa. earned Most Outstanding Player honors in Equitation Over Fences. She rode Leon to a 91-86 win over Hayley Lannotti for the point.

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