Horses

Collegiate Equestrian: Local riders helping their teams win

Local riders are making an impact for their college NCEA equestrian teams.

Allowing only one point in each event, the No.2-ranked Georgia Bulldogs rode to a 12-4 victory over No. 1-ranked defending national champions, Texas A&M at the University of Georgia Equestrian Complex on Oct. 13.

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Emma Mandarino a junior from Bedminster, N.J. earned Most Outstanding Performance honors for her ride in Equitation Over Fences.

Georgia took an early lead in Equitation Over Fences, 2-1. Mandarino, a team captain, headlined the event with an 82 on Roman, besting her opponent to give Georgia the lead.

On Oct. 14, Texas A&M bounced back, defeating Delaware State, 18-6 in Delaware.

"Obviously we had a rough day yesterday, so to see us bounce back was really encouraging," head coach Tana McKay said. "In this sport you don't usually get the chance to come back the next day and correct your mistakes. I think we cleaned up a lot of stuff. We had another tough test with a different set of horses that we didn't know a lot about. Delaware State was a great host and we appreciate them letting us come out here and compete."

In the meet's first event, Equitation over Fences, Alex Desiderio of Chester, N.J. scored an 80 to earn her team the point.

The Aggies improved to 4-1, 1-1 SEC.

The South Dakota State equestrian teamed defeated No. 8 South Carolina, 15-4 on Oct. 13 at the DeHaan Equestrian Center. 
In Equitation over Fences, Senior Taylor Duerr, of Rochester, N.Y., defeated Madison Sellman, 69-65. SDSU improved to 1-2, while USC dropped to 0-2 on the season.

The weekend's results caused changes in the rankings after the latest NCEA Coach's Poll . As of Oct. 17, Georgia Equestrian  took over the top spot and Texas A&M Equestrian dropped to second. South Dakota State Equestrian Team moved up into the Top 10.

Some changes have been made for this season in the NCEA. In an effort to provide more inclusive opportunities for national titles, there will no longer be just one national championship handed out at the end of competition in Waco, Texas. National titles are now available in the four events (Equitation on the Flat, Equitation Over Fences, Horsemanship and Reining) as well as team titles in the two disciplines (Hunt Seat and Western).

Now, instead of requiring an entire team to qualify for nationals, schools may qualify for titles in the separate events which should result in bigger fields.

See collegiateequestrian.com for score updates throughout the regular season.

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