Aggie Riders Fall To South Carolina

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BLYTHEWOOD, S.C.—The second-ranked Texas A&M equestrian team dropped a 13-7 decision to No. 7 South Carolina at One Wood Farm on Saturday afternoon.

Despite the overall loss, the Aggies (5-2) did earn a 6-4 victory in the western half of the show over the Gamecocks (3-4). South Carolina used a 9-1 decision in the hunter seat discipline to earn its biggest overall win of the season.

“I thought we rode well considering the long layoff (70 days) that we’ve had between competitions,” A&M head coach Tana McKay said. “Our western group did a great job of stepping up and out-riding their opponents. It simply wasn’t our day on the hunter side. We rode well. It just didn’t work out today.”

The Aggie western team was led to victory by a pair of underclassmen in the first show of the spring season. Sophomore Tara Christiansen (Snohomish, Wash.) extended her undefeated reining season in style, out-riding Gamecock Hailey Thornton 73.5-50. Christiansen managed to successfully control her draw, Nic, who had flared three kick-outs with Thornton on board in the first of the two rides. Christiansen won a well-deserved most valuable rider honor for her performance, her second of the season, as she increased her record to a perfect 6-0.

Freshman Katie Lisabeth (Canton, Ga.) led an experienced A&M horsemanship group by claiming most valuable rider honors in a 69.5-67 win over South Carolina freshman Maggie Fortune. Lisabeth’s win improved her seasonal and career record to 3-1.

Horsemanship mainstays Sibyl Parsons (Combine) and Caroline Gunn (Greenburg, Ind.) both earned their fourth wins of the year. Parsons beat Gamecock junior Emily Bookwalter, 72.5-69.5, while national champion Gunn topped junior Amy Biffle, 72.5-67.

Senior co-captain Genna Fishgold (Scottsdale, Ariz.) won her second reining match in her last three outings by out-pointing Lydia Roof, 69.5-67.5. Junior Maggie Gratny (Leavenworth, Kan.) won the most ‘interesting’ reining match of the day, and possibly the season, 26.5-17.5, over Amy Biffle.

A&M’s lone win in hunter seat competition came over fences by junior Lindsay Smith (West Friendship, Md.). Smith scraped by South Carolina junior Nicole Bourgeois, 76-75. Freshman Megan Webb (Burlington, W.V.) was A&M’s high-point scorer of the day, totaling a score of 83 on the flat, but fell by two points to Gamecock sophomore Victoria Middleton.

With the win, A&M’s western team improves to 5-1 while the hunter seat and overall team records fall to 5-2.

The Aggies will be back in action at home next Saturday at 10 a.m. as they try to avenge their first loss of the season at the hands of the Baylor Bears.

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