Georgia during the 2021 SEC Equestrian Championship in Bishop, Ga., on Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021. (Photo by Rob Davis)

Georgia has only one national championship squad on campus this year, the equestrian team. Although last year was a shortened season, the Bulldogs were still able to mount a 8-3 record and win the 2020 NCEA National Championship.

Current sophomore, Leah Anderson, came out during the national championship last year and scored the only point the Bulldogs had during horsemanship, pushing the team even closer to their victory. With strong performances across the board, senior Courtney Bloomer scored the final point in reining to secure the title for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs had to defeat Texas Christian University, Oklahoma State and Southern Methodist University during the NCEA Championships, en route to their seventh national title since 2003. As the team looks forward to this upcoming season, a repeat is on their mind.

“I think we've all gotten a taste of that championship and now we're going to work extra hard to make it happen again,” sophomore Jordan Toering said. “Because being back-to-back champions would be pretty darn cool.”

On top of the riders looking for a national championship repeat, head Coach Meghan Boenig said it will be about the attention to detail, finding moments to outshine their competitors and the drive for hard work. Coming into her 20th season, Coach Boenig wants nothing more than to bring home her eighth national title.

As the team moves into this season, the Bulldogs have a tough schedule. Meets against SEC foes No. 1 Auburn, No. 9 South Carolina and No. 5 Texas A&M will all be a challenge to the No. 2 Bulldogs.

Georgia will face Auburn, Texas A&M, South Carolina and SMU on the road. The Bulldogs defeated SMU for the championship last season.

“The SEC is very competitive,” Bloomer said. “We just try to bring our all and hold nothing back whenever it comes to competing within the SEC.”

For every team on campus, this season is particularly special as players return from shortened 2020 seasons due to COVID-19. Anderson said last year, the riders were not allowed to be in close contact with each other, and had to be in separate barns.

Georgia is eager heading into this season coming off a national championship, as well as after having a shortened season. The Bulldogs begin their title defense on Friday when they travel to Auburn, Alabama, to take on the Tigers.