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Jan. 21, 2015

Editor’s Note – Front page photo courtesy of The Equine Chronicle.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina equestrian coach Boo Major on Wednesday announced the signing of western rider Madison Thiel (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman High School) to a National Letter of Intent to join the Gamecocks for the 2015-2016 season. A dual threat rider in the arena, Thiel will be able to compete in both horsemanship and reining for the Gamecocks.

Thiel chose South Carolina over Georgia, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State.

“We are so happy to have Maddie join our team next year,” Major said. “Becky (Schooler) has done a great job preparing girls to compete at the college level, so we know Maddie will be ready to hit the ground running on day one. Right now Maddie’s been focusing on horsemanship but she’s such a good rider we also think she could be showing for us in the reining too.”

Thiel trains with Becky Schooler, who also trained Gamecock senior and western team captain Sam Chiodo. During her youth career, Thiel has competed in horsemanship, showmanship, halter, western pleasure, reining, and trail.

She is currently the region four national director of the American Quarter Horse Youth Association.

Last year, Thiel finished as the reserve champion in Youth Showmanship (15-18) and first in NSBA at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. She also earned a 15th place finish at Congress in the Youth Horsemanship (15-18). At the AQHYA World Show, Thiel won the world championship in showmanship and finished in the top-20 in horsemanship.

In 2013, Thiel was the AQYHA world champion in performance mares and fourth in showmanship. At Congress, she finished fourth in Youth Showmanship (15-18). In 2012, she was the Congress champion in Novice Youth (14-18) Hunter Under Saddle, fourth in Youth Showmanship (12-14) and she won NRHYA Youth Rookie at the Tradition.

A senior at Dublin Coffman High School, Thiel is currently a member of the Drama Club.

Her parents are Tiger and Cyndi Thiel. Her sister Charley Thiel is on the equestrian team at the University of Georgia.