Georgia Equestrian: The intense, noble sport understood by few

One of the most successful programs in Athens is the Georgia equestrian program. The horse-riding Bulldogs have won six overall National Championships.

I dated a girl in high school who grew up owning, training and riding horses. After she took a brief detour at equestrian haven Sweet Briar College I dated her when she transferred to the University of Georgia.

Even in high school, this woman was 5-11, matching me in height and perhaps weight, though you could not tell the weight thing by looking at her. I never came close to provoking her into physical competition, because she could probably squash football player me like a grape.

She is now married to a horse man, and they own, train and ride horses. They have two daughters who do the same and who can also probably squash me like a grape. So, I hope readers can understand why I do not go to the one source who can likely answer all of the inane equestrian questions I will ask here.

  • Why do only 19 NCAA Division 1 colleges have equestrian teams?
  • Does UGA really have 64 equestrian team members?
  • Do they each have multiple horses?
  • When they compete far away do those horses fly coach or first class?
  • Do those horses eat better than I did at Snelling Hall?
  • What time do equestrian athletes have for life beyond horses & academics?

I promised you inane, and I gave you inane. Back now to some semblance of serious discussion. The Georgia Equestrian team has six National Championships and other awards include:

  • SEC Champions 2015
  • NCEA National Champions 2014
  • NCEA Team Reserve Champions 2012, 2013
  • Varsity Equestrian National Team Champions 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Varsity Equestrian National Team Reserve Champions 2005, 2011
  • Southern Equestrian Champions 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Georgia Equestrian became a varsity sport in 2001. The 109-acre equestrian complex, completed in 2009, is in Bishop GA, 12 miles south of campus.

Okay, I have gone on to read that there are a variety of competitions within each equestrian meet, and riders appear to be matched up with horses they have never ridden. But to continue with that would suggest I am evolving into an equestrian authority, hardly the case. My intent here was to address questions a typical fan might ask.

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