The No. 3 Texas A&M equestrian team opens the spring season at No. 9 TCU Thursday. Hunt Seat competition begins at 11:00 a.m. at Turning Point Ranch in Springtown, Texas, while the Western competition is slated to begin at 5:00 p.m. in the Justin Arena at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
“We are facing TCU again, so we know that we have a tough test ahead of us to start off the spring,” head coach Tana McKay said. “It’s hard for both schools just coming back and having a couple of weeks of solid practice under your belt after the winter break, but things are a little rusty. It’s going to take some mental preparation from these girls to really stay focused. Number one because we are still getting back in the swing of things, and number two because it is a split meet. We have Hunt Seat first, and then having such a delay for the Western event to go so much later. It’s going to be a long day for the Western girls to have to stay focused and think about what they are doing.
“I’m excited about being at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. We went eight years ago in 2010. It was really neat because there were stocks shows going on there and horse shows, so there were a ton of people when we were there. That part of it to me is exciting to be able to showcase our association, format and obviously the two teams. A lot of girls have shown there before, so it has a different feel to it being in a big arena. I am hoping there will be a lot of people there watching. It will be exciting.”
The Aggies (6-2, 2-1 SEC) are looking to bounce back following a 10-8 loss at then-No. 5 Oklahoma State on Nov. 19. The Maroon & White closed the fall slate defeating Fresno State, South Dakota State, South Carolina, Delaware State, TCU and Auburn.
In their last meeting on Oct. 26, the Aggies topped the Horned Frogs, 16-3, in College Station. Junior Rachael Hake led the way for Texas A&M, tallying a 96-89 win in Equitation on the Flat and an 88-84 victory in Equitation Over Fences, while being named MOP for both events.
The Maroon & White is led by junior Rebekah Chenelle, who posted a 6-2 record in Equitation on the Flat and holds a 6-1-1 mark in Equitation over Fences. Senior Alex Desiderio holds a 6-2 record in both Hunt Seat events. Hake also earned five wins and one MOP for the 6-2 Fences team.
Senior Avery Ellis holds a 5-1-1 record in Horsemanship and was named November’s SEC Rider of the Month, while senior Bailey Cook tallied five victories and two MOPs in her seven rides.
Senior Madison Bohman leads the Reining squad with a 5-2 record, while earning NCEA and SEC Rider of the Month honors for October. Junior Haley Franc also tallied a 5-2-1 record in Reining.
TCU enters the meet with a 2-5 record and are also coming off a loss to Oklahoma State, 13-6.
Thursday's meet with be the 12th matchup between the two teams with Texas A&M holding a 9-2 advantage.