Let’s set the stage:
Your intrepid, up-and-down, never-give-up Georgia Equestrian Dawgs rode into College Station, TX this weekend for the SEC Championship event. As you may remember from their previous throttling of Texas A&M, the Dawgs seem to perform pretty well in College Station. And they were going to need to, because the SEC is packed with quality squads and, frankly, with Georgia you just don’t always know what you’re going to get this season.
Unsurprisingly, given the rollercoaster ride of performances we’ve seen this year, the Dawgs found themselves in the consolation round of the event. Given the dominance of Auburn and Texas A&M (when they weren’t facing Georgia), this should have been the expected outcome. However, instead of giving in and spiraling into a momentum-killing collapse, the Dawgs bounced back and set themselves up nicely heading into Nationals.
In the consolation round, the Dawgs took on the Gamecocks of South Carolina and were spurred to victory by the Most Outstanding Performer ride of Grace Bridges (Jr.) in Equitation on the Flat. Strong performances from Hayley Mairano and Maddy Darst helped the Dawgs take that event 3-1.
Next up, the Dawgs put together a 4-1 victory in Horsemanship on the legs of strong finishes from Sara Lewis, Maddie Fiorante, Graysen Stroud, and Maddie Anger. If you were guessing that Madison was a Top 5 baby name circa 2000-2001, you are correct. Thus, the Dawgs went to the break with a 7-2 lead.
On the back end, Georgia took a close victory in Reining 3-2. They relied on their early lead to hold up, as the squad struggled in Equitation Over Fences, gaining only 1 point off a strong performance by Mairano. Ultimately, Georgia emerged victorious, 11-8.
The Dawgs will ride again at the National Collegiate Equestrian Association National Championship in Waco, Texas April 14-20.