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Boo Major

Boo Major

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Boo Major, who has received state, regional and national recognition as a premier equestrian instructor for over 30 years, is in her 25th year as head coach of the South Carolina equestrian team. Major has instructed riders throughout the southeast and has successfully competed at the national level over the past three decades.

During her tenure at South Carolina, Major has led the Gamecocks to three NCEA Overall Championships (2005, 2007, 2015), three consecutive NCEA Hunter Seat National Championships (2005, 2006, 2007), one Southern Equestrian Championship (2012), and two SEC Championships (2013, 2014). She is a two-time (2013, 2014) Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year winner, and she was named National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Equestrian Association in 2014 and 2015. On March 29, 2014, Major became the first University of South Carolina head coach to win back-to-back SEC championships. On April 18, 2015, she became the first University of South Carolina head coach to win three national championships. In 2014, she was recognized by the University of South Carolina’s College of Mass Communications and Information Sciences as one of its two Distinguished Alumni award winners. In the first seven years of coaching at South Carolina, Major took 22 riders to compete as individuals to the IHSA National Championship. Major coached the Zone 5 Region 2 High Point Hunt Seat rider fives times during that span, including 2004 National Champion Tara Brothers. At the 2004 IHSA National Championship, Major received the Cacchione Cup/USEF Coach’s Award, given to the coach of the IHSA National Hunter Seat Champion. She coached the High Point Western Rider, (now associate head coach/western coach) Ruth Sorrel, of Zone 5 Region 2 in 2000.

Major also guided the career of Kristen Terebesi who in 2008 became the first person in NCEA history to win two individual national championships in a single season. Terebesi took home the titles in equitation on the flat and equitation over fences to sweep Hunter Seat honors at the 2008 NCEA National Championship. At the 2010 NCEA National championship, Major coached Kimberly McCormack, who was named Hunt Seat MVP as a freshman, the highest individual honor that season.

In 2011, the NCEA began recognizing All-America teams, and Major has coached seven riders that were named First Team All-Americans a combined 12 times. Horsemanship rider Johnna Letchworth became the first Gamecock to earn the honor, as she was named to the inaugural class on March 31, 2011. In 2012, Letchworth earned her second straight First Team All-America selection while Katherine Schmidt became the first hunt seat rider in program history to earn First Team All-America honors, picking up the nod in equitation over fences. In 2014, Schmidt earned a pair of All-America honors, earning the nods in both equitation on the flat and equitation over fences. In 2015, a record four Gamecocks were named First Team All-Americans as Schmidt (equitation over fences), Amber Henter (equitation over fences), Sam Chiodo (horsemanship), and Layla Choate (reining) all earned top honors. Altogether, Gamecock riders have combined to earn 12 First Team All-America honors, seven Second Team All-America honors, and 17 Honorable Mention All-America honors. As a rider, Major has competed in hunter shows, eventing and dressage.

With the NCAA recognizing equestrian as an emerging varsity sport, Major has the opportunity to promote the sport at South Carolina, to other universities and colleges, the horse industry, the community at large and on the national level. The University of South Carolina was the first major Division I school in the nation to declare equestrian as a varsity sport and Major is proud to be associated with the Gamecock athletics department.

A Columbia, S.C. native, Major is a 1981 graduate of South Carolina and received her Master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in 1990. She has taught at a number of riding facilities across the state and coached many riders to regional and national honors. Major is also a Technical Delegate and “r” Eventing Judge with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). She is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), USEF, United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), United States Eventing Association and the South Carolina Coaches Association.

Major owns and operates a small breeding farm in Blythewood. She has a son named Robert “Mac” McDow Duncan III. An avid fox-hunter, she also has dogs, cats, birds and fish as pets.