There will be no love lost between the No. 2 TCU equestrian team and No. 1 Baylor in this year’s Valentine’s Day matchup.
The longtime rivalry between the Frogs and Bears will rear its head on Saturday at Turning Point Ranch in Springtown, Texas,.
Hunt seat head coach Logan Florentino said TCU (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) is “hungry for a win” against Baylor (10-0, 3-0 Big 12). After last year’s matchup, where the No. 8 Horned Frogs lost to the No. 2 Bears at the Willis Family Equestrian Center, Florentino said they are “lit up” for the dual.
“They had a taste of victory last year at Championships, and now they don’t just want a taste, they want the whole thing this year,” Florentino said. “It’s been a very long time since I have been fortunate enough to work with a group of athletes that is this committed and dedicated.”
The Bears’ 12-8 win left TCU 5-4 on the season. Although TCU won the horsemanship competition, Baylor won the rest of the day’s events.
Baylor has remained undefeated this season. The Bears have taken their winning streak into the spring season by defeating No. 10 New Mexico State and No. 6 Texas A&M earlier this year.
Since TCU last played Baylor, Equestrian Director Haley Schoolfield said her athletes have been continuously improving into a more unified unit. Schoolfield said in particular hunt seat, a style of forward seat riding, has matured and is ready to show their competition how they have improved over time.
“Even from school year to school year we have many more miles under our belts than we did,” Schoolfield said. “We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were last year.”
After starting their spring season with a win against No. 8 SMU at the annual Fort Worth Stock Show Dual on Friday, Schoolfield said she is ready to take on their largest competitor of the season.
The Horned Frogs outscored the Mustangs with the raw score of 1,481.5-1,460.5. TCU also received three out of four Most Outstanding Player honors with Kari Hancock in equitation on the flat, Megan McCullen in horsemanship, and Shelby St. Hilaire in reining.
In the morning session of the competition hosted at Turning Point Ranch, SMU led TCU 5-4. However, during the evening events inside the John Justin Arena, TCU came back and defeated SMU by the final score of 11-7.
“This really set the tone for where we are and where we need to be,” Schoolfield said. “This should help us see progress and development in the team.”
Hunt seat senior Kaitlin Perry said her team is eager to take on the Bears and knows this year’s result will be different due to the development of its members.
“We are coming into this year a lot stronger,” Perry said. “Next week is going to be a much greater game.”
The competition’s events will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the TCU equestrian facility, which Schoolfield said will “certainly be helpful to be in your own home, in familiar territory and in a friendly atmosphere.”
Schoolfield said she hopes the momentum from last week’s events pushes her team to another victory.
“We really want to beat them,” said Schoolfield. “We plan to beat them.”