The TCU equestrian team enters its spring schedule hoping to build on its momentum from the fall, which the team hopes will lead to a shot at a national title.
This year, team members planned to work towards individual and team goals throughout the season, hunt seat head coach Logan Fiorentino said.
Hunt seat rider Haley Jacobi, who has an 8-8 competition record, said the team’s ultimate goal was to win a national title.. The national championships will be held April 12-14 in Waco.
Jacobi was chosen for the WEF Collegiate Challenge along with teammate and freshman Kaitlin Perry, who has compiled a 7-7 competition record. That competition will be held Feb. 10 in Wellington, Fla., with other top collegiate equestrian riders.
The team won its last two events in the fall against West Texas A&M and Oklahoma State University. TCU beat West Texas A&M 17-2 and overcame Oklahoma State with a 10-8 edge.
Although the team had a rough start to its fall schedule with a 2-6 overall team record, it was able to move forward and finish strong, Jacobi said.
For each competition, a typical show day begins early for the horses and the riders, and the home team prepares the horses for the day. When the visiting team arrives, there is a coaches’ meeting to draw the order in which the riders will compete and to determine which horses they will ride, Jacobi said.
Perry said members who will not compete are given certain tasks to help the day run smoothly.
Jacobi said before the competition begins, the TCU coaches talk with their riders about the goals they set for that day. Then the riders cheer to pump themselves up.
“After the cheering is done, we know it’s ‘go’ time,” she said.
Jacobi and Perry agreed that the University of Georgia’s equestrian team would be TCU’s toughest competition on its spring schedule. TCU lost 16-4 to the Bulldogs in Georgia on Oct. 23.
“We can finally show that we have what it takes to knock out one of the best teams,” Perry said. TCU will face Georgia on March 9.
The team has six more competitions, three of which will be at home, in addition to the WEF Collegiate Challenge and the Pin Oak Invitational on March 25 in Houston. The western team will compete Feb. 3 at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo against Texas A&M. It will be the second year for the two teams to meet at the stock show.