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Graysen Stroud slides to a stop aboard Peppy. University of Georgia equestrian hosted and defeated South Carolina by a final score of 13-7 in Bishop, Georgia on March 2, 2019. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean)

The Georgia equestrian team fell to Texas A&M 12-8 in the semifinal round of the Southeastern Conference championship at the Hildebrand Equine Complex Friday morning.

The Bulldogs will compete in the consolation round Saturday at 9 a.m. CT to the loser of the semifinal matchup between Auburn and South Carolina.

Earning Most Outstanding Performance (MOP) honors, senior Graysen Stroud had a compelling ride in reining, beating her opponent 207.5-206.5.

“There are a lot of moments to be proud of and certainly the biggest one is of the fight of this team,” Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig said. “They never quit and especially the reining squad came out there and said, ‘we’re not done yet’. That was good to see."

Starting off with equitation on the flat, Georgia trailed Texas A&M 4-1. Junior Grace Bridges scored a 183, but fell to Brianna Peddicord who scored a 185. Junior Maddy Darst and senior Madison Newman both fell in their competition, but sophomore Haley Mairano gave the Bulldogs their one point with a win of 241-214.

In horsemanship, Texas A&M rode to victory in with a 4-1 advantage over the Bulldogs. Stroud had the first point for Georgia but Texas A&M claimed the next four points for an 8-2 lead after the two events.

Georgia was able to add two points in equitation over fences, where Georgia’s Emma Mandarino had a high score of 254 to earn a point for the Bulldogs. Texas A&M earned the next three points. Junior Sydney Hutchins added to the Bulldogs total with a win in the final hunter seat ride with a score of 237-230.

Reining proved to be a strong suit for Georgia as the Bulldogs topped Texas A&M 4-1. With her MOP ride of 207.5, Stroud earned another point for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs took the next three points with scores from Jordan Carpenter, Annabeth Payne and Courtney Blumer.

“There were a couple places where we needed to be a little riskier, especially on first rides to just put that out there in front,” Boenig said. “There was a lot of clean, great riding and good things to build on for tomorrow. All of us are feeling sore because this was not the outcome that we wanted or foresaw.”

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