Equestrian Team Signs Five Riders

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COLLEGE STATION - The six-time national champion Texas A&M equestrian team signed five riders to a letter-of-intent during the fall signing period head coach Tana Rawson announced on Friday.

Signing with the Aggies are Kelsey Adams (Colleyville), Lia Chafee
(Wakefield, R.I.), Abigail Grabein (Houston), Dana Hall (Kerrville), and
Jackie O¹Connell (Saunderstown, R.I.).

Kelsey Adams will be a 2008 graduate of Grapevine High School. She earned numerous top 10 placings in all-around events at the 2007 American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Congress as well as multiple top 10 finishes at the National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) world show. She has qualified for multiple finals at the APHA world show and has been listed on the APHA Honor Roll several times. She currently trains with John and Jill Briggs and Michelle Pearson.

"Kelsey is such a talented and natural rider that I know she will make a
great addition to our team," A&M horsemanship coach Beth Bass said. "Her Aggie spirit already runs deep and she is a very mature and self-motivated individual. I am excited about adding her to our roster in the fall."

Lia Chafee currently attends The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Conn. Over the past two years, she has qualified twice for the U.S. Equestrian Federation Hunter Seat Medal Finals and the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals. She won a silver medal this year in the Challenge of the States representing Rhode Island. In addition to qualifying for the U.S. Equestrian Team Show Jumping Talent Search, she has earned top ribbons at Lake Placid, the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Vt., the Vermont Summer Festival, and Saratoga among others. Lia currently trains with Linda Langmeier.

Jackie O'Connell attends The Lincoln School in Providence, R.I. Like Chafee, O'Connell has qualified for the USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals as well as the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals in both 2006 and 2007. She also qualified for the U.S. Equestrian Team Show Jumping Talent Search and the New England Equitation finals in addition to being named Best Junior Rider at the Head of the Bay Classic two years in a row. In 2006, O'Connell was named among the top 25 riders in the nation in Small Junior Hunter 16-17. Jackie currently trains with Kathy Fletcher.

"I am extremely excited about the addition of both of these talented young ladies to our already outstanding hunter seat team," A&M hunter seat coach Linzy Woolf said. "They are both currently training in great environments with very experienced trainers who have given them the tools to excel in the collegiate riding arena. I have high hopes and expectations for both of these ladies in the coming years."

Abigail Grabein is a 2007 graduate of Westfield High School in Spring.
Grabein has a wealth of experience having competed in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), the Southwest Reining Horse Association (SWRHA), the Texas Quarter Horse Association (TQHA) and the Texas Reining Horse Association (TRHA) circuits. In 2004, she was the youth 13-and-under reserve champion in the TRHA. More recently, Grabein was the reserve champion in limited non-pro in the 2007 yearly standings in the TRHA. She earned South Central Affiliate Champion
honors at the Tulsa Classic this year as well as taking reserve honors in the limited non-pro division at the Southwest Futurity last month. Abigail currently trains with Nathan Piper of Madisonville.

"Abigail is hardworking and very dedicated equestrian athlete," A&M head coach Tana Rawson said. "She has gained invaluable experience throughout her career and we are looking forward to adding her talent to our roster!"

Dana Hall is a senior at Kerrville Tivy High School. She is a multiple time
APHA world champion including having won the 2007 world title in
horsemanship and showmanship. She is currently the No. 1 youth in the nation on the 2007 APHA Top 20 list and is leading multiple 2007 APHA honor rolls.

"Dana will have a tremendous and immediate impact on our team," A&M
horsemanship coach Beth Bass said. "She has been extremely successful at the national level and achieved much of that success on her own. Those experiences will bode well for her career as an Aggie equestrienne."

The current A&M squad is in the midst of its winter break. The Aggies
finished the fall with a 6-1 record and will resume their season on Feb. 2 against 2006 overall national champion Auburn in Alabama.