The sun has yet to rise when the 62 students begin arriving at the UGA Equestrian Center for their first home meet of the season. They are greeted by the smell of hay, the stomping of hooves, and an occasional whinny.
The horses are fitted with bridles, their tails and manes groomed, a good three hours before the event begins. Energy fills the stables as the women’s equestrian team prepares to compete in English and Western riding events. Only 12 to 20 of the team members will compete, the rest will perform the tasks surrounding the meet, helping with judging and media, washing down the horses and unbridling them following an event.
Begun in 2002, the UGA Equestrian Program is young, but has proven itself on a national scale. Coach Meghan Boenig, who was hired right out of graduate school at Texas A&M University, has taken the team to national competitions each year, winning two national titles and one national reserve, a second place finish. The team won each of its six home meets during the 2006-07 season and brought home the Southern Equestrian title for the third consecutive year. They finished third overall in the national competition in Waco, Texas, in April.
The program has been a boost for UGA, says Athletics Director Damon Evans. “It has provided opportunities for female student athletes at this university, which is significant in this day and age,” Evans says. “We want to be at the forefront of providing opportunities for female students.”
For more information on UGA’s Equestrian Program, contact Coach Meghan Boenig at 706/583-8304 or
Donate to the Equestrian Program by contacting Mark Ingram at 706/542-7812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.