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The Battalion

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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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M equestrian clinches consecutive upset over No. 2 Auburn

Photo by Photo by: Kathryn Perez

Texas A&M equestrian has stunned top-rated programs in back-to-back matches. This time, the Aggies have topped a fellow SEC juggernaut, the No. 2 Auburn Tigers.

The meet opened with over the fences, and Rebekah Chenelle started the day with a 79 before being granted a re-ride where she scored an 86 to win an A&M point. SEC Fences Rider of the Month Alex Desiderio won her point with an 84-82 score. Marlena Parker and Haley Iannotti were edged out by one point, but Rachael Hake’s dominant win set the Aggies ahead with a 3-2 lead.

“I knew the horse really well,” Hake said. “He was the most comfortable for me. I feel more comfortable with the harder horses and I think that’s where I get the advantages. I think [my point] stirred up positive reactions, my teammates are like, ‘Okay, if she did that, I can do that. It’s not that hard.’

Horsemanship demonstrated some weakness for A&M. A&M scored no initial points to open the first western event of the day, as Avery Ellis, Carolyn Day and Rachel Lucht all gave up their points to the Tigers. Kaci Fisher finished the event with a tie, and after the judge declared a re-ride, Logan Pluhar pulled away from from her opponent, 75.5-73.5, to give the Aggies their sole point for the event.

To finish the hunter seat half of competition, the Aggies finished strong to regain momentum heading into the final event. Anna Rea suffered an A&M loss, but three consecutive large-margin victories by Marlena Parker, Alex Desiderio and Hannah Williams gave the Aggies an edge. Audrey Gallagher finished her re-ride with a 74, losing to her opponent and finishing A&M with a 3-2 advantage on the flat.

With the score tied at 7-all, the match’s pressure was set upon reining. A&M handled the pressure well with close wins by Sarah Kate Grider and Hannah Jechow. Ashley Dotson’s ride sealed an upset against Auburn with a 74.5-73.5 score. Pluhar earned the final point to give the Aggies a 4-1 finish to the event, and an 11-8 finish to the meet which concluded the upset. Hannah Jechow won MOP honors for the event that led the team to the win.

“Honestly, I don’t like knowing the score before hand,” Jechow said. “I really didn’t know where we were, I knew that we needed points for reining. I was the first Aggie out and I just wanted to set that tone for my teammates and for Auburn. I told myself, ‘I’m the first one at and I have to set the bar right now.’”
Texas A&M equestrian will return to action Sunday, Nov. 15, to compete in the AQHA Collegiate Horsemanship Challenge. The competition will take place in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and will conclude the next day.

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