Saturday, July 5, 2014
Pinewood Prep graduate Aurie Engel Schmieding recently signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Gamecock equestrian team for the 2014-2015 season.
Schmieding will ride with South Carolina’s western team and compete in reining.
Originally she focused on finding a college with a strong music program, but then decided she wasn’t ready to give up competing and started considering offers from equestrian programs. She chose the University of South Carolina over Auburn, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Georgia.
“I’m happy about finding a college where I can ride,” she said. “South Carolina has the best team and they had better offerings. It’s going to be fun and I consider it an honor to ride with them. I was able to hang out with some of the team and they were very welcoming and nice.”
The Gamecocks are happy to have her.
“We’re very fortunate to have such a talented in-state girl like Aurie Engel sign with us,” Carolina head coach Boo Major told gamecocksonline.com. “We don’t get many reiners from the state of South Carolina, but we’ve had some really good ones in Rebekah Roof and Lydia Roof and Cody McMillion, and we’re getting another talented one in Aurie Engel. She has a lot of experience in the IEA and we think that will benefit her a great deal when she joins us next year.”
In 2013, Schmieding was the NRHA Sliding Summer Classic Rookie Non-Pro Level 2 Champion. In 2012, she was the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Intermediate Reining National Champion. In 2011, she was the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) All-State Hunt Seat rider on the flat.
Schmieding began riding horses when she was 5 and showing horses when she was 8. While she has had a lot of success at horsemanship competitions, her passion is reining.
“It is basically the cowgirl version of riding,” she said. “It’s more fast paced and more about technique than opinion. It’s just fun and cool.”
Schmieding trains with Kevin Jewell and Chad Crosby, who board her horse Twist in Conyers, Ga. Jewell is the father of former Gamecock equestrian Audrey Jewell, who was a four-year letterwinner between 2009 and 2013, and was captain of the western team when Carolina won the 2013 SEC Championship.
At Pinewood, Schmieding had a 3.65 GPA, making her a regular on the school’s faculty and headmaster’s honor roll. She was actively involved in Beta Club and student government.
In 2010, Schmieding was on the girl’s varsity tennis team, and she was on the varsity and competitive cheerleading squads from 2011-2013. In 2011, she was named Varsity Cheerleading Rookie of the Year, and she was on the 2012 and 2013 competitive cheerleading teams that won back-to-back SCISA championships.
Her parents are Dana and Robyn Schmieding. Her sister, Ali Clines Schmieding, is a Pinewood graduate who is now on the equestrian team at St. Andrews University.
Before Ali left for college, she and Aurie Engel had their own band, Home Grown. They played mostly Blue Grass, Country and Gospel.