By Chloe Adam
LoCoSports Staff Writer
Ashburn (November 9, 2016) – Riverside High School senior Mali Selman has decided to continue her equestrian career at Texas A&M University starting in the 2017-2018 academic year.
“I chose Texas A&M because they have an amazing equestrian program, a great coaching staff and a fun team atmosphere,” the 17-year-old horseback rider said. “Also, the school itself is impeccable.”
Texas A&M University – located in College Station – has one of the largest campuses in the United States, covering 5,200 acres. The Aggies’ equestrian team is led by head coach Tana McKay who is in her 17th season leading the 11-time defending national champions. They begin the 2016-2017 season ranked fourth in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association’s preseason rankings.
The women’s equestrian team is a very competitive program with a history of national success. The Aggies finished second overall in four of the last six seasons.
Selman competes in the 3-foot-6 Junior Hunters as well as the 3-foot and 3-foot-6 equitation classes.
“Some of my biggest accomplishments are placing fifth in the 3-foot-3 Junior Hunter finals last year on my horse – Man of Steel – and getting top ribbons in the equitation finals in the area in both 2015 and 2016.”
Selman was hooked on riding after her grandfather gifted her with riding lessons at Red Gate Farm for her sixth birthday.
“Having a partnership with these animals and trusting each other to do incredible things is one the best feelings I get from riding,” Selman said.
Today, the future Aggie trains at TuDane Farm in Middleburg, where she rides and keeps her horse, Man of Steel. When not competing in events, Selman works for Jonelle Mullen -her coach and the manager of the farm – doing barn work and riding clients’ horses on the weekends and during the summer.
“Being able to ride so many different horses has definitely helped me become a better rider and helped prepare me for the collegiate format,” Selman said. “At collegiate competitions, riders have a matter of minutes to ride a horse and get a feel for its adjustability and quirks, which can be challenging.”
As of now, the 5-foot-5 senior plans on majoring in biology or bio-med.
“In the future, I want have a good end to my junior riding career and then be able to improve my riding even further to compete at the collegiate level,” Selman said. “I am really looking forward to being an Aggie!”