Baylor Equestrian starts spring home stand with a win

Baylor equestrian competed against TCU in hunt seat at the equestrian nationals held at the Extraco Center Arena on April 15. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

By Darrell Harris | Reporter

The Baylor equestrian team (8-2, 2-1 Big 12) continued their excellence over the weekend, defeating the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs (4-4, 1-2 SEC) with a score of 10-7 to extend their home winning streak to 25 meets.

The meet was a very competitive one throughout its entirety. It was not until the final two events that Baylor equestrian put away the Bulldogs and sealed their victory. At the half, the score was 5-4 with Baylor in the lead. They would close out the second half of events with a score of 5-2 in the flat and horsemanship.

It was a busy day at the Willis Family Equestrian Center as events took place in the covered and outdoor arenas simultaneously. Inside, the meet began with a 2-2 draw after the fences event. Junior Hunt Seat rider Rachel Van Allen recorded the highest score of the entire meet in this event, earning an 84 for her exceptional performance while navigating the course. The Bears created a small lead after the next event, reining, where they outscored Georgia 3-2. The Bulldogs appeared most formidable in this competition, but the Bears handled the adversity well and rallied to take the lead by the end of the half.

For those unfamiliar with the equestrian team, they were in for a treat.

“This was my first time seeing our equestrian team and I was impressed with how they performed during reining,” said Woodlands freshman Josh kelly. “After that Georgia seemed out of it for good.”

This was indeed the turning point of the meet. The Bears were dominant in the flat, in which senior Hunt Seat rider Savannah Jenkins won her third consecutive most outstanding performance in the event. Lastly, in horsemanship, sophomore western riders Abbi Demel and Kaylee Mellott earned the final points of the competition.

It was a very well-rounded performance for the Bears who earned points from many different riders. This bodes well for the No. 2 ranked Bears because they do not have to depend on one or two people to carry the team. A balanced attack like the one they possess makes them tough to be beaten because they have no particular weakness.

Their discipline can be attributed to their busy schedule beyond conference play.

“We have such a long season we started in September, then we had a break for Christmas,” said head coach Ellen White. “So [now] it’s almost like starting over again for our spring season.”

This scheduling format can be grueling for the players and the coaching staff alike, therefore earning big wins like these over ranked opponents are huge confidence boosters for the team. The Bears picked up a big road win at TCU this past week and to go along with their win against Georgia, they appear to be ready for what lies ahead.

Coming up next, the Bears have a Big 12 conference matchup against Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Willis Family Equestrian Center. This is the last conference meet for the Bears of the season. The Bears have another top five matchup looming later in the calendar with the currently No. 3 ranked Auburn Tigers on March 3.