Wennberg fills critical gap for Bulldogs

ATHENS — The Georgia equestrian staff is celebrating the prominent addition of venerated equine judge and instructor Carla Wennberg as an assistant coach, head coach Meghan Boenig announced Friday. Wennberg, a graduate of the University of Georgia, has served as an international AQHA and NRHA judge for the past 19 years and had held the post of Director of Equine Activiies at Martin Community College in Williamston, NC since 2001 prior to accepting the Georgia position.

Wennberg is taking over the reins of the Western program from former associate head coach Beth Bass who accepted a position with Texas A&M after launching Georgia's fledgling Western squad to two straight second place finishes in VENC competition and a fourth place finish at the 2005 Varsity Equestrian National Championships.

"As soon as we stopped to breathe once we knew that Beth was leaving, Carla was really the only person to call if it was at all possible to get her here," Boenig said. "I was thrilled to death when she expressed great interest in coming back to Georgia. We're very excited to bring her here."

Wennberg graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. degree in Animal Science in 1981 and has since served the equine world in many capacities, including Director of Reining for the United States Equestrian Team (1999-2001).

"This is a really exciting opportunity for me," Wennberg said. "I was in college during the glory days of Herschel Walker and Dooley's Dawgs so it's really cool that I get to work for the athletic department now. College was a great time in my life."

Wennberg has exhibited horses on a national level for 30 years. Before her stint with the U.S. Equestrian team, she worked as an Equine Program Specialist at the University of Georgia from 1996-1998 and an Equine Sciences Instructor at Colorado State University (1992-1996, 1987-1990) and the University of Georgia (1985-1987). She worked as a trainer and exhibitor for the Kenny Rogers Arabian Horse Farm in Colbert, Ga., from 1981-84. Her coaching experience includes horse judging teams at Martin Community College and the University of Georgia and the UGA Western Riding Team between 1996-1998.

Wennberg served as a Western judge at the 2005 Varsity Equestrian National Championships in Santa Fe, N.M., where the Bulldogs fell just short of their third straight national title.

"I am hoping my experience as a judge will lend itself to positive things for our riders," Wennberg said. "Beth Bass did a tremendous job of teaching here and I just want to contribute to that. Of course I want us to be competitive and win every competition, but another goal I always have for working with young people concerns what they will take with them when they leave. I want them to be tremendous horsemen and riders when they exit our program."

During her own decorated riding career, Wennberg won the title of American Quarter Horse All Around Youth World Champion and was a three-time AQHA Youth World Champion. She officially assumes her new position on August 29.

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