UGA Equestrian Alumni: Carrying on the Tradition
Morgan Beavers

Morgan Beavers
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March 3, 2014

By: Morgan Beavers

As the regular season comes to an end (with the final home meet on March 7th in Bishop, Ga., against New Mexico State University), we got in touch with some recent team alumni to see what some of their favorite memories and lessons were while on the team. We also got an inside look at what these veterans--both alumni featured in the article were members of National Championship teams—think it takes to bring home a ring from Waco, Texas.

First, we talked with Carly Anthony, a first-year alum from Redmond, Wash. Anthony had a bright career as a junior before her time at Georgia, competing in USET West Coast Finals and finishing fourth in the ASPCA Maclay Finals. At Georgia, Anthony earned many MVP ride titles, was a five-time All-American and helped her team win the 2010 National Title with a 3-0 record at the NCEA championships.

 

GD: What is your best memory from the team?

CA: One of the very many wonderful memories I have of being on the team was traveling with my teammates. It was a time for all of us to come together and learn even more about each other and at the end of every trip we felt like a closer group of girls. It was also fun to have random people at the airport coming up to us asking what sport we played and it was always an honor to represent the G wherever we went.


GD: Where did you grow up prior to attending UGA, and with whom did you train/what was your experience prior to UGA riding?

CA: I grew up in Redmond, Wash. on a farm where I rode with my mom and my sister. We competed all over the west coast growing up and primarily focused on equitation and jumpers.


GD: What did you study in school, and what is your career now?

CA: I graduated with a degree in business management from the Terry College of Business! Currently I am a professional rider and ride for Eric Lamaze of Canada. It is my dream job and I am so fortunate to have it as my first job right out of college!  I am able to compete in international competitions that I have dreamed about showing in since I was little, like the Gucci Masters in Paris. It has been a great first year out of school and I am very blessed to have such an incredible opportunity.


GD: What did you learn from the team that you carry with you today?

CA: One of the biggest tools that I took away from riding on the team was self-confidence. A true champion has an unwavering sense of self-confidence that can withstand any form of adversity.


GD: Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

CA: I hope to continue with my career and be a successful show jumper ranked in the top 50 in the world. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there but the journey is the most exciting part.

Next, we spoke with Alex O’Toole, who rode on the team from its inaugural year in 2003 to 2006 when she decided to go professional while finishing out her last year in school. O’Toole was an extremely successful junior rider in the Northeast and brought her success to Georgia, as well. She was part of both Southern Equestrian and NCEA championship-winning teams.


GD: What is your best memory from the team?

AO: Well this is hard, there are many!  Top two memories are walking out of the show ring knowing I nailed a trip scoring an 86, finalizing the win in the over fences for the team. The other top memory was the countless nights with my friends from the team. Those girls, they know who they are, were my rock! 


GD: Where did you grow up prior to attending UGA and with who did you train/what was your experience prior to UGA riding?

AO: I grew up in Newburyport, Mass., and trained with Olana Laffey, Michael Keogh and many fabulous trainers at Stoneleigh Burnham School where I attended High School. I showed in all three rings on various catch riding mounts as well as some of my own on the A Circuit. I attended Medal finals every year starting at the age of 12 and always found myself most attracted to the Eq ring. I was a member of Stoneleigh Burnham’s National Champion IEA Team in 2002 and 2003 as well as taking home 3rd in both the Open over Fences and Open Flat Individually in 2003 at IEA Nationals.


GD: What did you study in school, and what is your career now?

AO: I started off as a pre-vet major and quickly figured out that unless I wanted to be a vet this was not the major for me. I then became an Ag Business major and quickly learned that I was not interested in Poultry which seemed to be the highlight of that major. I then found my niche in Sports Business with an Animal Science Minor in which I took every horse elective possible, sometimes even twice. I am now owner, trainer and professional rider for my farm, Wisteria Farm in Monroe, Ga. We cater to A Circuit clients on a local and National level.


GD: What did you learn from the team that you carry with you today?

AO: The most important thing I learned from the team is not to fixate on the negative. I can’t say that I am not still working on this although the team opened my eyes to realize that if one jump or one leg yield is not perfect, put it behind you, learn from it and make the best of what you have left to complete.


GD: What is your advice for girls currently on the team?

AO: Budget your time. Between workouts, practice, study hall, school and friends you can overwhelm yourself easily. A good balance of all of the above is hard to achieve although well worth it in the end so as not to burn out.


GD: What do you think makes Georgia Equestrian the next national champions, and what separates us from our competition?

AO: The camaraderie between my teammates made us feel almost unbeatable during my years on the team. There was a sense of “we got this” during each meet that is hard to explain. We were never conceited, just sure of each other’s talent and cheered each other on.  

 

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