The No. 2 Auburn equestrian is set to kick off the 2023-24 season at home Saturday, hosting No. 9 UC Davis at the Auburn University Equestrian Center. The top 10 match up is slated for 11 a.m. CT and admission is free.
“We are excited to open the season in front of the Auburn Family,” head coach Jessica Braswell said. “We’ve opened on the road the last couple years so getting the chance to kick off our season at home is a big advantage. Our team feeds off the energy of the fans and there is in no environment in college equestrian like Auburn!”
Saturday’s meet marks the first for Braswell at the helm of the program after spending the previous 11 seasons as assistant and associate head coach. She took over in May of 2023 after Greg Williams moved to Head Coach Emeritus.
“I’m excited to have our team back competing for the first time as the head coach,” Braswell said. “I’m very happy we are at home. Coaches Taylor Searles and Emma Kurtz have the team very prepared and ready for Saturday!”
Auburn last faced off with UC Davis in California in October 2022. The Aggies upset the then-No. 5 Tigers, 10-8.
“We are looking to kick the season off with a big win tomorrow,” Braswell said. “UC Davis comes in with a top 10 ranking and won their conference championship last year so they will be well prepared. They were able to take the win against us at their place last season so we will be looking to bring that win back to Auburn.”
All Auburn University students are welcome to join the Jungle Junction this weekend at the Auburn University Equestrian Center. There will be a chance to win a personal cooler as well as multiple gift cards throughout the meet.
For all other fans, the Kid’s Zone will be open with a bounce house and pony rides and the day will also feature upgraded concessions as well as food trucks.
For more information on the Auburn University Equestrian Center, please visit HERE.
Fans will get to see a handful of new faces on Saturday as well as a wealth of experience from upperclassmen.
Senior Ellie Ferrigno and juniors Mary-Grace Segars and Sophee Steckbeck will lead the Jumping Seat corps, competing in both Fences and Flat for the Tigers. The trio each earned All-America honors last season, while Ferrigno was named the 2023 SEC Fences Rider of the Year. Steckbeck was an All-American in Fences and Segars picked up the national award in Flat.
Joining the trio in both events will be freshman Avery Glynn. The Petaluma, California product comes to the Plains with a full resume of success, including wins at Devon and other circuit victories.
On the Western side, seniors Kate Buchanan, Olivia Marino, Madison Parduhn and Isabella Tesmer will be looked to for leadership this season. Joining the four in experience are sophomores Caroline Fredenburg and Alexia Tordoff.
Fredenburg, Parduhn and Tordoff highlight the Horsemanship lineup for the Tigers on Saturday. Tordoff, an All-American and the SEC Freshman Horsemanship Rider of the Year, looks to build off her success from last season. Fredenburg was placed on the 2023 NCEA All-Championship team in the event as a freshman last year, while All-American Parduhn has been in the Horsemanship roster consistently throughout her time on the Plains.
A pair of freshmen in Brooke Jolstad and Alexis Potts will join the three in Horsemanship. Potts, of Fountain Inn, South Carolina, is a multiple world champion in Horsemanship, while Jolstad has many top five finishes in the event.
Buchanan, Marino and Tesmer will guide the Reining corps and will be joined by Tordoff and sophomore Caroline Buchanan. The five all return as consistent starters from last season as Kate Buchanan and Tesmer were All-Americans in the event. Marino earned a spot on the NCEA All-Championship team for her performances in Reining and Tordoff was named the SEC Freshman Reining Rider of the Year.
AUBURN – UC DAVIS SERIES
Saturday’s meet will be the third meeting between the two schools and the series is tied 1-1.
Auburn and UC Davis last met on October 14, 2022, in Davis, California. The Aggies edged the Tigers, 10-8.