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Aug. 28, 2009

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina equestrian team finished its first week of practice Friday afternoon at One Wood Farm in Blythewood.

Head equestrian coach Boo Major says that the first week back at practice is like a training camp for both the riders and the horses.

“With the girls gone for the summer, the horses don’t get the typical workout that they’d get during the fall and spring seasons,” Major said. “But this week, we’re getting them going again and so far they’ve looked really good as everybody is getting back into shape.”

The Gamecocks open the fall season at home against TCU (Sept. 20) before traveling to SEC rival Auburn on Oct. 2. Three consecutive home dates follow with Georgia (Oct. 23), UT-Martin (Nov. 6) and Fresno State (Nov. 7) all coming to One Wood Farm before Carolina ends the fall season on the road against Baylor (Nov. 20) and New Mexico State (Nov. 21), both in Las Cruces, N.M.

Carolina opens the spring with their final two home meets with Oklahoma State (Jan. 30) and Auburn (Feb. 6) coming to Blythewood. The team will split squads on Feb. 13 with the Western team hosting Ohio State and the Hunter Seat team traveling to an SMU team that only competes in the Hunter Seat division. The schedule concludes with road trips to Georgia (Feb. 27), Delaware State (March 20) and Sacred Heart (March 21).

The Southern Equestrian Championships will be held in Auburn, Ala., this season from March 26-27. Head-to-head season match-ups between South Carolina, Auburn and Georgia determines seeding for the S.E.C championship with the top seed earning a bye to Saturday’s championship round. Last season marked the first time that all three teams held 2-2 records in conference action, but Georgia earned a tiebreaker to claim the top seed. One of the three SEC teams has won the national championship every season since the current varsity format was adopted in 2003, making the regular season competition and championship strong tests for the Gamecocks before the Varsity Equestrian National Championships that will be held.