Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Athletic Association has signed a contract to purchase an existing horse farm near Athens that will soon serve as the permanent home for the Bulldogs’ national champion Equestrian team, Athletic Director Damon Evans announced today.
Beginning as soon as February 2009, the Bulldog riders will train and compete at High Point Farm in Bishop, Ga., approximately 12 miles from the UGA campus.
“Coach (Meghan) Boenig, her staff, and team have established an Equestrian program at the University of Georgia that deserves the very best facility in the country,” Evans said. “This property at High Point Farm gives us that opportunity. The stable, paddocks, and fields are essentially ready for our team and horses now, but our long range plan for enhancements will ensure a first-class home for our national championship team and at the same time, it will solidify our position at the forefront of varsity equestrian programs.”
Equestrian was added as UGA’s 21st intercollegiate varsity sport in 2001. Since the first year of competition in 2002, the team trained and held meets at the Animal Science Arena on South Milledge Avenue. UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the department of animal and dairy science operate the facility and have graciously hosted the Bulldogs through the current fall season.
The academic programs within the CAES, as well as the varsity Equestrian program, continue to expand. The Equestrian program’s move to High Point Farm will facilitate the continued growth of both programs.
“Purchasing High Point Farm is another important step in the expansion of women’s athletics at the University of Georgia,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “It will allow us to offer unmatched opportunities for student-athletes to train and compete at the highest level of college athletics.”
Since 1993, High Point Farm has served the Athens-area equine community with boarding and training facilities. In 1996, High Point was selected as the training site for the U.S. Dressage Team, which competed in the Summer Olympic Games at the International Horse Park in Conyers, Ga.
Though many facilities at High Point already exist, the Athletic Association plans to develop the property to suit the needs of the Equestrian program. Preliminary plans include the construction of an outdoor arena, as well as locker-room facilities for the student-athletes.
“We are so excited and the Equestrian team is very fortunate and appreciative of the Athletic Association’s support,” said head coach Meghan Boenig. “This purchase allows us the opportunity to take care of our student-athletes and our equine athletes. It will give us a chance to put firm roots down for our program. We are deeply appreciative of our time on South Milledge, but we also look forward to the future at High Point Farm.”
Over its six-year history, the UGA program under Boenig has become a national leader in varsity equestrian, which is classified as an “emerging” sport by the NCAA. The Bulldogs have won three national championships, captured five Southern Equestrian titles, and have never lost a dual meet at home since the format was introduced over four years ago.