By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference is in its second year of sponsoring the sport of equestrian.
The following Frequently Asked Questions article has been prepared to answer some of the most common questions you may have about the sport of equestrian and its integration into the SEC.
Q: How many SEC programs sponsor the sport of equestrian?
A: Four. Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M all sponsor the sport of equestrian.
Q: Is equestrian an NCAA sport?
A: Equestrian was placed on the NCAA’s list of “emerging sports” in 1998. There are currently 23 Division I and Division II colleges and universities offering equestrian as a varsity sport. In order to attain full NCAA championship status, there must be 40 Division I and II schools that sponsor equestrian at their institutions.
Q: What is the National Collegiate Equestrian Association?
A: The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) was created to advance the sport of equestrian from emerging to championship status with the NCAA by promoting the benefits of equestrian to potential institutions, riders, parents, horse industry professionals and sponsors while developing the rules and format of competition. For more information, log on to www.collegiateequestrian.com.
Q: How does a team compete for the national (NCEA) championship in equestrian?
A: The National Collegiate Equestrian Association Championships (NCEAC) are currently held in Waco, Texas. Twelve hunter set and 12 western teams are invited to compete. The NCEA Selection Committee invites teams based on their win-loss record throughout the season. The event takes place over the course of four days and more than 200 student-athletes from across the country participate.”
Q: What events are contested at a collegiate equestrian competition?
A: Collegiate equestrian teams compete in four events at each dual meet and championship competition: English Equitation Over Fences, English Equitation On The Flat, Western Horsemanship and Western Reining. There are two primary disciplines – Hunt Seat (Equitation Over Fences and Equitation On The Flat) and Western (Reining and Horsemanship).
Q: What is the competition format for collegiate equestrian?
A: The competitions are head-to-head where a rider from each team competes on the same horse. The rider earning the highest score on that particular horse wins the point for their team. At the end of the competition, the team with the most points wins the competition. The horse and rider match-up is determined by a random draw.
Q: Do equestrian athletes receive scholarships? If so, how many are allowable?
A: Fifteen scholarships are permitted per team for the sport of equestrian. The NCAA defines equestrian as an equivalency sport, allowing the scholarships to be divided amongst members of the team.
Q: How many athletes are there on an equestrian team?
A: There is not a roster-size limit for the sport of equestrian. According to the NCEA, teams range from 15 to 85 athletes with the average team having about 46 members.
Q: How many coaches are allowable in the sport of equestrian:
A: The NCAA allows each program to have one head coach and two full-time assistant coaches.
Q: How many equestrian competitions are allowable each year?
A: Teams are permitted up to 15 dates of competition, not including conference or national championships. Competitions that last more than one day can be considered one date, up to five times.