Journal on the Road

Tara’s Journey Continues

April 17, 2010

On the third day of Varsity Equestrian National Championship competition, the exhibitors are tired but still fighting for wins.

By Tara Christiansen

After an exhausting day, we wrapped up Friday with smiles on all of our little Aggie faces.

To start the day off, my roommate, Elizabeth, (who also doubles as our equitation on the flat captain) and I performed our rendition of a Texas A&M Midnight Yell. For those unfamiliar with the tradition, before every home football game, Aggies gather at our football field, practice yells and listen to stories and jokes told by our Yell Leaders (Texas A&M doesn’t have cheerleaders, but we have five male yell leaders).

Anyway, Elizabeth and I started the tradition of Equestrian Midnight Yell exactly one year ago. Deciding that our teammates would appreciate as much pumping up as they could get, Elizabeth and I did our yell on the bus. Our girls were ready as all get-out by the time we exited the bus. Unfortunately, they had several hours to go before they showed.

I was on edge all through our reining rides Friday afternoon, but our girls put in four amazing rides and ended the reining 2-2. Once the reining was over, I knew that I at least could relax a little, especially knowing that our horsemanship girls are a formidable force.

After cheering for my reining girls, I realized that I was on the verge of losing my voice. I’m going to be praying to all of the saints that my voice can hang in there one more day.

The horsemanship rounds kept me and my teammates biting our nails the whole way through. The horsemanship brackets were jam-packed with multiple AQHYA world champions, and the competition was more than stiff. There was minimal room for error.

Senior Caroline Gunn started us off with an impressive score of 149. Following her would be freshman Carey Nowacek, who also laid down a gorgeous ride. The Georgia riders were putting up some really great rides, so we knew that our two remaining riders were going to have to ride hard and ride smart.

The next two riders, junior Randi Standley and sophomore Katie Lisabeth, did not disappoint. We swept the horsemanship 4-0 and finished the day 6-2.

Kansas State University also finished 6-2 against the University of South Carolina, also tying the reining and sweeping the horsemanship. We look forward to playing our good friends at Kansas State University for the Western National Championship.

One of the most exciting outcomes of the day was the four wins from our riders competing for individual championships. This means that four out of five of our riders competing for individual championships have progressed to the next round.

On the other side of our team, our English squad suffered a loss to No. 1-ranked Georgia. We have great hopes for our matchup against No. 3-seeded South Carolina. If both of our squads can finish strong, we stand a good chance at winning an overall national championship. For the last three years, we’ve finished reserve overall, and this year we’re looking to change that.

Gig ‘em Aggies!