Championships in view for equestrian team

Ashley Aikman is continuing to propel No. 8 TCU toward another Varsity Equestrian National Championship as the Lady Frogs head into the VENC brackets April 15.

Aikman, a junior from Mission, secured the Horned Frog victory over defending national champion Texas A&M on Feb. 5 in front of 1,623 spectators inside the John Justin Arena. She beat Randi Standley in Horsemanship, 71.25-70.

Sophomore Courtney Chown continued to rally the Frogs in the event, defeating Katie Lisabeth, 72.75-72.5.

“Ashley Aikman has been a solid rider this year for us,” head coach Gary Reynolds said. “She’s coming into this spring with so much confidence. I know when it comes down to it, she’s going to lay it all on the line.”

Aikman attributes her exceptional performance to increased experience as a junior, her individual world championship win in 2007 and mental conditioning.

“I can’t say I expected to win, but we did!” Aikman said.

As a freshman, she helped TCU equestrian claim the national championship in 2007. Aikman said beating Texas A&M was the result of intense training, as both TCU and A&M are arguably the best in the nation.

“It felt good the beat the team that took our championship trophy away last year,” Aikman said.

The former world champion rider started showing horses at age 5. She said she plans to enter physical therapy school after graduation.

“Every ride is nerve-racking, but every single TCU rider is of world championship-caliber, and we train really hard both physically and mentally for each meet,” she said.

The Horned Frogs crushed the nation’s No. 3 ranked team in reining, cruising to a 3-1 victory on Friday. With the victory, TCU moved to 10-2 overall in Western, while Texas A&M dropped to 6-3 in Western events on the season.

TCU equestrian will continue against SMU in Mansfield on Friday.