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TCU equestrian misses national championship title by a horsehair

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The equestrian team trotted over New Mexico State and Baylor, but came up short against Auburn in the final.

GoFrogs.com

Did the TCU equestrian team win the national championship? Neigh.

But it was still a gallant effort by a team that endured a shaky season, yet still managed to reach the final of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) championship on Saturday. In the end, No. 6 TCU lost to No. 1 Auburn by a single point, 8-7.

But before getting into how it all happened, let's get a nutshell summary on how equestrian works. Basically, there are two categories of riding: hunt seat and western.

Hunt seat riders are the English-style riders that wear blazers and helmets as seen below.

Western riders don cowboy hats and belt buckles.

Both groups participate in a series of judged events like spinning or jumping over fences and earn points depending on how well they complete each task.

Equestrian is governed by the NCEA (the NCAA classifies equestrian as an "emerging sport").

So now we come to the NCEA Championship, hosted by none other than everyone's favorite team of all time -- Baylor -- at the Extraco Event Center in Waco. Out of 12 teams, the Frogs entered the tournament ranked No. 6 with a 6-8 record. Their first opponent was No. 11 New Mexico State, which TCU cruised over for a 10-6 win.

Then came the quarterfinals, where Frogs would face none other than their beloved Bears.

Now Baylor was granted a first-round bye, thanks to being ranked No. 3 with a 13-4 record. The TCU-Baylor meet felt like last season's football game -- the match went down to the wire, and in the end, both teams finished tied 8-8. But since the Frogs' individual scores added up to be higher, the meet ended just like the football game. TCU upset Baylor and advanced to the semifinals. TCU then beat No. 2 Georgia 10-5.

TCU's final opponent was formidable one -- one-loss, top-seeded Auburn. Late in the meet, the Frogs trailed 7-5 with only four riders left to go. But only two riders came up victorious, one finished with a draw. Auburn took over as reigning champion while TCU finished runner-up.

Ain't nothing to not be proud of, though. A shot at the championship and a loss to the No. 1 team by a single point? Hey, I'd ride off into the sunset with that.

And now, we celebrate with the most appropriate song ever.