Aggie Equestrian Announces Signing Class

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State equestrian head coach Robin Morris-Walters announced Thursday afternoon the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, joining the team for the 2014-15 academic year.

Pearl Aebly and Kimberly Ferrante join the Western squad, while Erica Alfiero, Madison Brayman, Grace McMurry and Remington Willkie will be members of the Hunter Seat team.

“We are excited to add these talented riders to our roster,” Morris-Walters said. “This concludes the signing of one of the strongest recruiting classes NM State Equestrian has brought in. These recruits will add quality and depth to our team while continuing our tradition of academic excellence. We are proud that they will be joining the NM State Aggie family.”

Aebly a native of Okotoks, Alberta will compete in the Reining competition for the Aggies. She represented Team Canada at the 2013 North American Junior Young Rider Championship (NAJYRC) in Lexington, Ky., and captured team gold and fourth-place individually. Aebly also qualified for the NRHA North American Affiliate Championships, Top 20 Rookie of the Year and was a Western Canadian Regional Affiliate Finals qualifier in Rookie, Limited Non Pro, and Youth 14-18. She also had multiple placings at regional NRHA shows and Non Pro Futurities throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“I am pleased Pearl will be joining us at NM State,” Morris-Walters said. “She will bring a wealth of NRHA experience to the Reining squad. I look forward to seeing how she does in the collegiate head to head format for the Aggies.”

Alfiero a native of Polson, Mont., will compete on the Hunter Seat team for the Aggies. The 2014 Valedictorian at Polson High School, Alfiero was a United States Hunter Jumper Association Varsity Letter Winner from 2011-14. She was also the winner of the 2012 United States Hunter Jumper Association Outreach Equitation Medal, while recording numerous wins in hunter, jumper, and equitation classes throughout the western United States.

“Erica is going to be a great addition to our program,” assistant coach Jessica Steele said. “She has good show experience and has proven herself to be an excellent student. I am very excited to add her to the roster and see what she can do in the collegiate format”.

Brayman is from Charlestown, R.I., and will ride for the Hunter Seat team at NM State. She was named the 2014 Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Leading Hunt Seat Rider of the Year and was the winner of the 2014 Varsity Open Championship Class at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association National Championships. Brayman was the 2011 United States Equestrian Federation Small Pony Hunter National Champion and has placed in the Top 5 at Zone 1 ASPCA Maclay Hunter Seat Equitation Regionals. Brayman has qualified for Devon, Indoors, USEF Medal Finals, and ASPCA Maclay Finals and has numerous wins at some of the biggest ‘AA’ shows in the country, including WEF, Devon, Capitol Challenge, Washington International, Kentucky National, and Penn National.

“I am excited that Madison will be joining the hunter seat squad this fall,” Steele said. “She will bring extensive equitation experience from some of the nation’s top horse shows where she has had much success. She is fresh off of a big win at the IEA National Championships, where the competition format is similar to ours. I am confident she will make a significant impact to our team.”

Ferrante is a Reining rider from Somis, Calif. She was the 2012 American Paint Horse Association (APHA) World Champion in Youth Limited Cowhorse and the 2012 APHA Reserve World Champion in 14-18 Reining. Ferrante was the 2010 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Youth Limited Reserve World Champion and has multiple wins and circuit championships at shows throughout the southwest. She is a NRCHA Youth Board Member and past Vice President and a California High School Rodeo Association District 7 Board Member as well. Ferrante is a successful student in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and was the editor and writer for high school newspaper.

“I am excited that Kimberly has decided to ride for NM State and look forward to her joining the reining squad this fall,” said Morris-Walters. “Coming from a family of professional horse trainers, she had the opportunity to ride different horses on a regular basis and show consistently. She has had much success at the national level in reined cow horse events. In addition, her varied experience in cutting and high school rodeo events will make her a gritty competitor in college. We look forward to great things from Kimberly both in and out of the arena and expect her to make a positive impact to the Reining squad.”

McMurry is from Keller, Texas and will be a member of the Hunter Seat for the Aggies. She was the 2012, 2011 and 2010 Texas Hunter Jumper Association Junior Equitation Champion. McMurry has qualified for Indoors and USEF Medal Finals and has numerous wins at ‘AA’ shows in hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions throughout Texas. She was an honor student at Keller High School.

“Grace will bring a wealth of experience to the hunter seat squad,” Steele said. “She has a strong equitation background with great show experience and is very driven. I am confident she will transition to collegiate riding with ease and will make a significant impact on our hunter seat squad.”

Willkie a native of Burleson, Texas, joins the Aggies as a Hunter Seat rider. She was the 2012 Dallas Hunter Jumper Association Junior Equitation Champion and the winner of the 2012 Dallas Hunter Jumper Association Junior Equitation Medal. Willkie was in the top five in Varsity Open Equitation on the Flat at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Zone 7 Finals and had numerous wins in hunter, jumper, and equitation classes throughout Texas. She is an honor student at Nolan Catholic High School.

“I am happy that Remington is joining the team and expect her to be a well-rounded student-athlete due to her experience in high school athletics and her dedication to her riding and schoolwork,” said Steele. “She will be a great addition to the team.”