When the Aggie football team takes the field in UC Davis Health Stadium this season, the first student-athlete onto the field is one wearing bright blue and gold chaps. And she’s on horseback.
Kendal Scheiner is entering her second season as Maggie the Aggie, the student in flashy western wear who fires up the crowd by riding onto the field on horseback, waving an Aggie flag and calling to mind UC Davis’ longstanding veterinary medicine and agricultural connections.
“The adrenaline that hits in that moment is so amazing,” Scheiner said.
2 sports, both on horseback
She competes on the equestrian team in reining, a type of western-style riding that pits riders against each other in their ability to control horses in fast turns, skidding stops and more. And while she has been involved in showing horses before crowds since she was 7 years old, she said nothing compares to riding out onto a football field in a stadium full of cheering fans.
“Having that loud and booming sound — you feel it through your whole body,” she said.
This season she will either ride her own horse, Vinny, who is boarded on campus, or her mother’s horse, Boo Boo, who makes the trip to campus from Scheiner’s hometown of Novato.
ANIMALS ON THE FIELD
A frequent photo op
Scheiner and her horse are also a major draw for attendees of home games. After leading the team onto the field, Scheiner makes her way onto the concourse, where she and her horse greet fans and pose for photos.
“It’s really sweet,” she said. “I appreciate everyone taking time to come meet me.”
Scheiner, a senior, often chats with fans about her major — communications — or future equestrian team meets.
Maggie the Aggie debuted in 2019, first portrayed by animal science major and equestrian student-athlete Tatum Burris.
When Intercollegiate Athletics staffers asked if anyone on the equestrian team would be interested in succeeding Burris, Scheiner jumped at it. So far the two sports’ schedules haven’t conflicted, although last year she did have to go directly from competing to running out onto the football field and then back to the equestrian competition. She even had to switch horses, because during meets, both home and visiting teams use horses owned by the host university.
Scheiner said she is grateful for the opportunity to participate in football games, adding that it shows another way UC Davis is a close-knit school, despite its large size.
“To be able to represent UC Davis with the logo on my back is really cool,” she said. ”I love UC Davis and I’m really happy with my decision — it’s cool to be able to resemble that.”
NEXT HOME GAME
- WHAT: UC Davis “Back to School” football game against Eastern Washington, featuring a rally towel giveaway
- WHEN: 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23
- WHERE: UC Davis Health Stadium
- TICKETS: Available online
- READ MORE: Info on broadcasts, tailgating and more
Cody Kitaura is the editor of Dateline UC Davis and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.