Rachel McMullen

Georgia rider Rachel McMullen during the Red and Black equestrian scrimmage at the UGA Equestrian Complex in Bishop, Ga., on Fri., Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)

Georgia equestrian’s four-meet losing streak was ended by an impressive performance Friday afternoon at the UGA Equestrian Complex.

The Delaware State Hornets came to Bishop to meet a victory-hungry Georgia equestrian team after the Bulldogs were blown out by South Carolina 14-5. Georgia redeemed itself by a high scoring 15-4 win with the Hornets at the front end of their urge for revenge.

All Jumping Seat riders, in both Fences and Flat, rode to scores of 83 or better. Freshman Rachel McMullen earned her first Most Outstanding Performance for her career-high score of 90 in fences. McMullen is only the fourth Bulldog to achieve a score of 90 this season.

It is not everyday that a freshman receives this title, but her dominant performance earned her a spot celebrating with the upperclassmen.

“I've been hungry for an MOP ever since I started. I have been fortunate enough to get so many opportunities as a freshman,” McMullen said. “Seeing all the upperclassmen getting high scores and their confidence really trickled down to me.”

All MOP honors were given to Georgia riders. Senior Ali Tritschler earned the Flat MOP after matching her career high score of 91. Sophomore Kaitlin Dierks’ score of 75.5 earned her second honor of the season and senior Annabeth Payne finished the day with the MOP honor in Reining.

Following McMullen in Fences, senior Maddy Darst scored an 84, Kate Kramer earned an 86 and junior Hayley Mairano scored an 87 to conclude the points. The Bulldogs finished with a 4-1 lead.

Over in the Western area, the competition was closer as the Hornets had an answer for sophomore Sarah Lewis (74.5) and Dierks (75.5). After Horsemanship, Georgia led 6-3 with two events remaining.

Darst rode to her best Flat score of the season with a 90. Mairano (87), Tritschler (91) and senior Grace Bridges (83) followed, scoring the next three points securing the 4-1 win.

To close out the day, Georgia ended with a perfect 5-0 sweep in Reining. Sophomore Courtney Blumer began with a career-high score of 74 and earned the first point for Georgia. Then, senior Julia Spreng outscored her opponent by a seven-point margin, 68.5-61.5.

“I rode a horse that made its debut back in a couple of years. It is all about keeping calm. Our sport is all a mental game,” Spreng said.

Now that Georgia has set the bar high, the real test will be if they can do the same for tomorrow’s meet against Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.

“It’s always great to come right back and get into competition when there is something you want to get accomplished and done,” head coach Meghan Boenig said. “Our test is not over yet. Can we do this tomorrow? We are on a right roll.”

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