Four Former UGA Riders Named 2023 NCEA Distinguished Alumni – University of Georgia Athletics

ATHENS, Ga. — Four former University of Georgia equestrian team members have been selected as 2023 NCEA Distinguished Alumni Award winners, the National Collegiate Equestrian Association announced Friday.   These awards are presented to women who, after the completion of their undergraduate degree at an NCEA member institution, have made significant contributions in a professional field. Georgia’s honorees include Lauren (Haygood) McLendon (Education), Carly Anthony (Equine Industry: Professional Rider), Abby O’Mara (Equine Industry: Coach/Trainer), and Carter Anderson (Young Alumni).   Distinguished Alumni are recognized in nine categories including Business, Community Engagement, Education, Equine Industry (Trainer/Coach), Equine Industry (Medical/Pharmaceutical), Equine Industry (Professional Rider), Health Science, Media & Communication and Young Alumni. Distinguished Alumni are separated from their institution for at least six years prior to nomination and are recognized as distinguished in the following areas: academic success, athletic success, outstanding service contributions, and post-graduate success.

A four-year letterwinner (2011-14) at Georgia, O’Mara earned two NCEA All-America honors and two All-SEC selections in Equitation over Fences.  She helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2014 NCEA Championship where I was named to the All-Championship Equitation over Fences team at the national championship. As well, earned All-America and All-SEC distinctions. O’Mara finished her career with a 38-14-1 record in Fences, which ranks fourth all-time in Georgia history.  O’Mara is in her sixth season as the Jumping Seat Assistant Coach at Texas A&M. Under her leadership, Aggies have collected nine All-America nods.  She’s had two riders earn SEC Rider of the Year recognition.   
Carly was a highly decorated member of this team and a devoted leader as a captain.  She became first NCEA rider with over 100 career wins during her illustrious career at Georgia. From 2010-13, Anthony compiled records of 51-12 in Flat and 51-15 in Fences and helped lead Georgia to one team national championship in 2010. She earned more than 30 Most Outstanding Performer honors and ranks second in both Flat and Fences for most in NCEA history. Anthony earned five NCEA All-America nods – three on Flat and two on Fences – and was named the 2013 SEC Flat Rider of the Year in the first year the conference sponsored the sport. Since graduation, Anthony has competed in 100s of Grand Prix competitions with now several at the 5 star level.  She is ranked in the Pan-American Ranks, Longines Rankings and can be found competing with an elite group with the FEI. Having spent five years in Europe working with international equestrian jumpers Eric Lamaze and Ben Maher, she returned to the United States of America in 2018 and began riding for Neil Jones Equestrian in Palm Beach, Florida. In September 2019 she left Neil Jones Equestrian to set up Carly Anthony Showjumping.  Carly Anthony Showjumping pairs competition with marketing utilizing her business degree.
Lauren Haygood McLendon competed and placed with multiple ribbons in Intermediate Horsemanship when UGA competed in the IHSA. Lendeon is Georgia Ag Teacher FFA and IEA Coach, Piedmont Academy.  She leads her students as a high school science teacher, coaches the Piedmont Academy Equestrian Team, and is a FFA advisor.
Carter Anderson was a member of two NCEA reserve championship teams at Georgia, in 2018 and 2019, and contributed to a Southeastern Conference title in 2018, National Championship 2021, and served as team captain throughout the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. In her one season as an assistant coach at UT Martin, Anderson oversaw a group of jumping seat riders that was amongst the ECAC conference’s best. The jumping unit collected 44 victories and 10 MOPs in fences to go along with 38 wins and eight MOPs in flat. With the help of Anderson’s supervision, the Skyhawks were ranked in the top 10 of the NCEA polls nine different weeks. The team finished the year 8-8 with a 7-2 record against ECAC opponents and made their second straight appearance in the conference’s championship meet. Anderson was named the ECAC Coach of the Year in 2021. She is now the assistant Jumping Seat coach at Oklahoma State.  
The 2023 Distinguished Alumni will be recognized during the NCEA National Championship scheduled in April 2023 at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Florida.


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