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April 7, 2017


Date: April 16, 2005

Event: 2005 Varsity Equestrian National Championship

Result: 1. South Carolina, 2. Georgia, 3. Texas A&M

Location: Santa Fe, N.M.

The 2016-17 season is the 20th anniversary of head coach Boo Major’s tenure at the University of South Carolina. As the Gamecocks prepare for the 2017 NCEA Championship event, will look back on some of the biggest victories of Major’s career, including today’s feature, on Carolina’s first national title, the 2005 Varsity Equestrian crown.


As the sport of collegiate equestrian was growing in the early part of the 21st century, head coach Boo Major was determined to position the University of South Carolina as one of the giants of the sport. Carolina was at the forefront in 1997, becoming the first university to declare equestrian as a varsity sport and in 2005, after more schools followed Major’s lead, the opportunity came to win the first ever Varsity Equestrian National Championship.

With defending IHSA hunt seat national champion Tara Brothers leading the way, Major and the Gamecocks entered the 2005 VENC meet as one of the favorites to leave with the title.

Not surprisingly, the Gamecocks dominated both hunt seat portions of the competition. Brothers was the high point earner in equitation on the flat, and rising star Kristen Terebesi, a freshman, was the top scorer in equitation over fences. Carolina finished the hunt seat portion of the event with 40 points, 11 ahead of their closest rival, Georgia.

Still, the Gamecocks had to perform on the western side to claim the overall national crown, and Carolina’s riders did not disappoint. Led by Allison Bradley, who won her section of horsemanship, South Carolina tallied 20 points on the western side.

The combination of hunt seat and western gave the Gamecocks 60 total points, and when Georgia could muster just 51, the Gamecocks were awarded the momentous title of first-ever varsity national champion in the sport of equestrian. Texas A&M, who would join the Gamecocks in the SEC a decade later, finished third, while Oklahoma State placed fourth.

Carolina would go on to win the hunt seat VENC title a year later and in 2007, the Gamecocks won the combined title again. Individually, Terebesi’s career would end in 2008 with individual national titles in both hunt seat disciplines.


“This has been an interesting year. We came here thinking we could win the title if things went right and after we competed so well yesterday, last night I thought `We might just be able to do this.’ This has been within the team’s grasp all year – winning the team title this weekend. But all the ladies needed to show up at the same time at the same competition, and they did that this weekend. They rode the best they could have ridden. Gamecock fans should be proud of this group of young ladies and the way they competed in New Mexico the last few days. It was a tough competition and one where everyone really competed to the best of their ability. Individually, Kristen Terebesi won both her sections in hunt seat and that was a real highlight for us. Tara Brothers’ efforts were a real plus. On the Western side, Allison Bradley shined in winning her Horsemanship section.”– Coach Major


“In 2005, I remember this incredible sense of pride in becoming a Gamecock. I was freshman, and though the program was still young, Boo instilled a sense of trust and stability as a team. She knew we were capable and prepared us to flourish. I remember getting off our flight, walking through Columbia Metropolitan Airport feeling strong and excited for the future of the team. I can still feel the presence we carried back to campus.”– Kristen Terebesi

“Dr. (Mike) McGee, who was our athletics director at the time, is the one who really initiated the equestrian program at the University of South Carolina. We were the first major Division I school to add equestrian. So I still remember calling him on the phone when we were heading to the airport and letting him know we had won the championship. He was extremely excited about it.

“It was fun. We had no idea we were winning or had won until the last horse came out of the ring. I remember receiving a phone call from another coach saying ‘you know, I think you just won this thing!’ I didn’t believe him at first, then when it all came to fruition that we indeed had won the championship. It was very exciting. For me, it goes down as one of the highlights of my career here.”– Coach Major