Back in the saddle: SDSU’s riding not strong enough



The South Dakota State equestrian team rode well and earned two of the four most outstanding player awards, but fell to top ranked Texas A&M by a score of 15-5 on Saturday in both team’s season-opener at the DeHaan Equestrian Center.

“We definitely held our own against the defending national champions, and earning two MOPs shows that,” head coach Megan Rossiter said. “The four freshman that started for us today rode really well, and should be a real asset for us this year.”

Senior Lauren Kerr earned MOP honors for the Jackrabbits in equitation on the flat with a score of 78, while junior Laura Dunlavy posted a 71.5 in reining to earn MOP honors.

“Lauren works hard every day in practice, and that showed today,” assistant coach Kamerra Brown said. “She put together an awesome ride over fences, but hit a rail on the last jump, which dropped her scored from an 80 to a 60, so I was excited to see her bounce back on the flat.”

The Jackrabbit western squad scored a total of three points, with senior Kelsey Champagne scoring the Jacks lone point in horsemanship. Senior Jana Basler and Dunlavy scored the two reining points.

The Aggies swept the points in equitation over fences, but the Jacks got points from Kerr and senior Megan Violand on the flat.

Violand originally scored an 84 over fences riding Krokodile, but the horse came up lame after her ride, forcing her into a re-ride, where she scored a 64.

“Megan set the tone with an 84 over fences before the horse came up lame, but she handled the re-ride well, and I couldn’t be more proud of her,” Brown said. “She’s a great rider and it showed today, but unfortunately her opponent reaped the benefits of the lame horse.”

Freshmen Marielle Golden, Lexus Hoffman, Jessie Miller and Raivenne Scott all made their Jackrabbit debut on Saturday.

The Jackrabbits return to action on Oct. 13, when they host Oklahoma State inside the DeHaan Equestrian Center at 9 a.m.