NCEA Equestrian Conference Championship Action
As a member of a college equestrian team, I know that March Madness is not only on the Basketball court, it also comes in the form of NCEA (National Collegiate Equestrian Association) Conference Championships. This coming weekend the Big 12, SEC and UEC Conference Championships all take place, but in 3 different locations. The Big 12 Championship will be held in Waco, TX, the SEC Championship in Auburn, AL and the UEC in Dover, DE. Teams will compete over a two day period, starting March 24th, 2017, and ending March 25th, 2017.
Just like any good March Madness Tournament, these Championships are sure to have high energy, upsets and major surprises. These Championships are often very different from regular season play where the home team often has a true advantage competing with opposing riders on their own steads. Teams will compete for the first time this season on an “even playing field” with draws using neutral horses, as well as, an even amount of horses from each opposing school as to lessen the advantage of any competing school.
All teams will compete over four events, two hunt-seat and two western events. The hunt-seat teams compete in Equitation on the Flat as well as Equitation over Fences. The western teams compete in Horsemanship, as well as, Reining. As for the format, “The National Collegiate Equestrian Association tests five riders from each team in head-to-head competitions. Five horses are selected for each event. Each rider is paired with one of the five horses in a random draw before the competition. She is able to watch the horse warm up and receives four minutes to practice on her assigned mount before competing. Riders from opposing teams compete on the same horse in the head-to-head competition. Each rider receives a score, and the rider with the highest score receives one point for her team. In NCEA competition, the level of difficulty is demonstrated by the accuracy of the pattern and how the competitor uses the horse that she draws to the best of her ability (NCEA).
If you want to check out one of these awesome conference championships or just learn more about college equestrian teams, click here.
Wishing the best of luck to all riders competing in their conference championships this weekend!