Led by career-high performances from sophomores Sydney Hutchins and Maddy Darst, the top-ranked Georgia Bulldog equestrian team overtook Sweet Briar College 9-0 in the Hunt Seat competition on Saturday afternoon at the UGA Equestrian Complex.
“I am really impressed with our rides today and where they are going,” Georgia head coach Meghan Boenig. “It was great to see everyone coming out and putting down very strong rides, having everything in the 80’s is always a good day. That doesn’t mean we need to take the foot off the gas at all, we have a great SEC competitor in Auburn coming next weekend, who is going to be very hungry. Where we are and the strength that we are showing is very impressive.”
Darst and Hutchins headlined the competition for Georgia with Most Outstanding Performance honors in Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences. With a career-topping score of 90, Hutchins became the first Georgia rider with a 90-point performance in Equitation Over Fences since Meg O’Mara in 2015. Darst, the 2017 SEC Freshman of the Year for Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences, also posted a career-high 91 in Equitation on the Flat.
Georgia started off strong in Equitation Over Fences, led by Hutchins’ event-high score of 90. Georgia’s senior captain Addy Cord earned the first Georgia point with a score of 83 to Aoife Magner’s 76. Darst and Ali Tritschler followed for the next two Bulldog points, collecting respective performances of 88 and 87. After Hutchins’ 90, junior Emma Mandarino closed out the fences sweep by edging Makayla Benjamin’s 79 with an 80-point outing.
In Equitation on the Flat, junior Madison Newman secured the first Bulldog point with an 87, topping Courtney Barry’s 67. For the 7-0 margin, Cord slid past Benjamin’s 83 by one point. Tritschler and Katie Balding tied with a score of 82, pushing the point, before Bridges used an 83 to best Emily Schlosberg’s 66 for the 8-0 Georgia advantage. Darst sealed the meet with an event-high score of 91 against Lily Peterson’s 65.
“What a great way to close it,” Boenig said. “The horse that she drew is not the easiest of horses, so she had to really think through what her plan would be. What a great execution on a difficult horse with the last ride.”
Up next, the top-ranked Bulldogs welcome the fifth-ranked Auburn Tigers to the UGA Equestrian Complex on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1:00 p.m. Admission is free.