The No. 8 TCU equestrian team will open its season against No. 7 Baylor Saturday at Turning Point Ranch.
“We’re so excited to start the season,” Director of Equestrian Haley Schoolfield said. “It feels like we’ve been practicing and preparing for a long time."
"For us, this will be our first meet and for Baylor, it’ll be their fourth," she said. "We’ve had extra practices for our competitors this week and last. We try to get them as much saddle time as possible.”
The all-time series is currently tied at 5-5. TCU has won two out of the last three, including last year's 12-7 victory at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
“Last year we won at home, so we know it’s possible to beat them,” Schoolfield said. “We’ve been working hard to be the most prepared possible. Baylor is a very strong team on the Hunt Seat side, and they have a seasoned group of student-athletes on their roster.”
Baylor comes into the weekend with a 3-0 mark.
“Our dedication is our strong point,” Western head coach Kindel Walter said. “Baylor has a few good Horsemanship girls, which is better than their Reigning team, but our Reigning team is definitely a lot stronger.”
The Frogs return All-America honorees Kaitlin Perry, Alexi Child, Katelyn Gray and Caitlin Ader.
“I feel good about Saturday,” Gray said. “Baylor is a good team, but it’s definitely doable. We can accomplish it. We just need to be on our game and ride hard."
"They are a consistent team, but we can overcome that by not only being consistent but outriding them, pushing the pattern and outthinking them.”
TCU faces a challenge with 10 first-year members on this year's team, Schoolfield and Gray said.
“This year is different because we have a lot of freshman on the team, so it’s been more or less getting them use to our horses and getting everyone ready with the patterns to be able to go out there and knock them out,” Gray said. “I’m looking forward to getting out there as a team with all the new girls and show what we have to offer.”
An additional practice was held this week to get the team prepared against Baylor with a goal set in mind.
“My goal is to have my girls ride to the best of their ability and set the standard really high, which consists of no penalties, confidence, winning points and pushing everywhere in patterns, both Horsemanship and Reining,” Walter said.
Live results will be made available on the official TCU equestrian twitter page. Start time is set for 11 a.m. in Springtown, Texas. +