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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies saddle up for SEC tourney

Logan+Pluhar
Cody Franklin
Logan Pluhar
The Texas A&M equestrian team enters postseason play this weekend ranked No. 4 in the country despite being only two games over .500.
In the competitive SEC conference, the Aggies are 7-5 on the season. Of the five losses, three were at the hands of the top teams in the country — No. 1 South Carolina, No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Baylor. The other two losses were against No. 6 Auburn and SMU.
There are 14 Division I equestrian programs in the country. Four of those teams are in the SEC, and every team in the conference is ranked in the top six.
Head equestrian coach Tana McKay said the SEC is by far the toughest competition in the nation when it comes to equestrian.
“The four SEC equestrian teams are the only teams who have ever won an over- all national championship,” McKay said. “That speaks volumes for the conference. Every meet is like playing for a national championship and that will only make you better.”
Either Georgia, South Carolina, Au- burn or A&M has won every overall na- tional championship in equestrian since it was named an emerging sport by the NCAA in 2002.
The good news for A&M is that this year’s SEC tournament is in its backyard at the recently completed Hildebrand Equine Complex.

“Our athletes are incredibly proud of their facility,” said McKay. “ They know they are very blessed to have this facility.  They also know what it is like to not have a home and a locker room, so having this facility for them has been a tremendous addition to our team. It is always nice to compete where you feel comfortable.”

The Aggies, who have yet to lose a home match this season, are a perfect 6-0 at Hildebrand. Despite the homefield-advantage, McKay said the Aggies will not be riding the same horses they ride during the regular season.

“To make the event as neutral as possible, all four schools bring horses for post season meets,” McKay said. “Each team ride horses from schools that are not in their bracket to ensure the competition is fair.  Therefore, the traditional home field advantage is not as large as it can be during regular season meets.  Still, we are very excited to showcase our fabulous facility.”

The Aggies take on the Gamecocks at 10 a.m. Friday. The consolation match starts at 9 a.m. Saturday and will be followed by the SEC finals at 1 p.m.

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