It is important to understand the different college riding programs and what they offer. Many colleges offer athletic scholarships to riders regardless of the intercollegiate program they participate in. Club sports tend to be run and funded by the students who pay all associated costs and do the paper work. Check with the college about their policy and any expenses you or they will cover.
American National Riding Commission - ANRC
ANRC is an affiliate of the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) and alliance partner of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). The primary goal of ANRC is to promote the American System of Forward Riding and to promote the highest quality of educated riding and related services within schools, colleges, universities, and public or private riding establishments. Each year, ANRC offers competitive programs that focus on developing excellence in riding skill, knowledge of riding theory, and the horse’s performance. ANRC educational materials provide visual representations of good performances, as well as specific program and schooling techniques for the rider to follow.
ANRC National Championships
The ANRC National Championships, traditionally held in April, is an invitational competition for collegiate and junior teams that pay an annual ANRC membership fee. The collegiate championship and junior championship are held the same weekend and judged separately. In each championship, teams may compete in a 3′ or 2’6 division. The competition is judged and scored on equitation skills and sound horsemanship practices in four phases:
A Program Ride (includes USEF Hunter Equitation Tests) worth 35% of the total score
A Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Course worth 30% of the total score
A Derby Course (natural jumps in a field) worth 30% of the total score
A Written test based on riding theory and a selected stable management topic worth 5% of the total score
Students may compete on a school-owned horse or a privately owned horse. The highest score in each phase will be awarded to the rider who demonstrates excellence in equitation and produces a smooth, cooperative performance exemplifying quality hunter movement both on the flat and over fences. Throughout the year, coaches are encouraged to incorporate forward riding theory and sound stable management practices to improve the rider’s mounted and unmounted horsemanship skills. Students are encouraged to set personal goals as well as team goals, study ANRC materials, practice fundamentals, and apply knowledge.
For more information regarding ANRC programs visit: www.anrc.org
Intercollegiate Dressage Association - IDA
The Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) is a national organization founded in 2001 that provides a format for students to make dressage part of their college experience. Each academic year riders representing colleges throughout the US and Canada earn individual or team points that count towards regional standings and qualification for national finals.
IDA riders compete in Introductory, Lower Training, Upper Training, and First Level as individuals and as team members. IDA teams consist of 4 riders (one for each level) who earn points that count towards the team total to determine placing. Points earned at each show accumulate throughout the season. In addition to riding tests, Dressage Seat Equitation classes are also offered for riders in the four levels.
IDA competitions are judged by USEF or USDF rated judges in accordance with USEF rules. Unlike any other form of competitive dressage, IDA offers the added challenge of competing on unfamiliar horses provided by the host college and assigned by random draw. Each rider is allowed a 10 minute warm up before entering the ring to be judged.
At the end of each academic year, the IDA hosts a national championship for those teams, individuals, and dressage seat equitation riders who win their respective regions. Twelve teams, twelve individual riders in each of the four levels, and twelve DSE riders from each of the four levels, compete for a wide array of trophies and prizes including dressage saddles. The USDF/IDA quiz challenge, a test of riders knowledge of dressage theory, takes place at the national championships.
IDA’s approach brings added fun and challenge to the sport of dressage while providing college riders an affordable means of competing as part of a team. Riders do not have to own a horse or tack to participate and previous dressage experience is not required.
At least 55 colleges are members which field teams for IDA, providing over 700 riders in total to the program. Among those colleges many also offer riding scholarships
For more information please visit the IDA website teamdressage.com.
Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association
The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) welcomes men and women of all riding levels and offers individual and team competition in hunter seat equitation, Western horsemanship and reining at more than 400 member colleges and universities. Founded in 1967, it is the oldest and largest intercollegiate equestrian organization with 10,000 members in 47 states and Canada.
IHSA college and university team participation is represented through a variety of programs including varsity athletics, academic departments and club sports.
Membership in IHSA means that college students can compete at horse shows regardless of their experience or financial status. Students compete in beginner through advanced divisions with suitable, provided horses, eliminating the expense of horse ownership and much of the related costs of the sport. Through the Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation (IEF), IHSA members are eligible for multiple need and merit-based scholarships.
Members compete to qualify for IHSA Regional Finals. The top riders and teams at Regionals advance to the IHSA Zone Finals (hunter seat) or the IHSA Semi-Finals (Western). The top competitors and teams at Zone Finals and Semi-Finals qualify for the annual IHSA National Championship Horse Show.
Open level riders are eligible to compete for the USEF/Cacchione Cup and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Western Rider titles. National Championships qualified teams compete for the Collegiate Cup (hunter seat) and AQHA Trophy (Western) honors.
IHSA offers valuable hands-on experience and professional development in multiple facets of the equine industry. Many IHSA teams participate in service projects, giving back to their communities. Through the IHSA, students enhance their college experience and develop the tools that help to build successful careers.
For more information go to ihsainc.com and follow IHSA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Intercollegiate Saddle Seat Riding Association - ISSRA
The Intercollegiate Saddle Seat Riding Association, Inc. (ISSRA) was founded in January 2008 by Sally Haydon, Ph.D. in Lexington, Kentucky. Development of the organization was prompted by ten college students from Eastern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, Georgetown College, Morehead State University and Art Institute Online, who expressed interest in the formation of an organization promoting saddle seat riding and showing for college students.
The mission of ISSRA is to establish saddle seat riding teams at colleges and universities across the United States providing beginners through experienced and/or advanced riders with an opportunity to learn to ride or continue their riding and showing throughout college without the necessity of owning a horse while in college.
Each ISSRA team is paired with a local riding school or academy that serves as the team’s home base and provides riding instruction and team practices, horses and coaching at ISSRA horse shows. Beginners (with little or no horse experience) through advanced riders (who have won World or National Championships) are eligible to join ISSRA. ISSRA is the first intercollegiate equestrian program to offer saddle seat riding. For more information, please contact Deveau Zubrod: [email protected]
National Collegiate Equestrian Association - NCEA (NCAA Emerging Sport)
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), formerly known as Varsity Equestrian, in concert with the mission and vision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), is committed to providing collegiate opportunities for female equestrian student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while embracing equity, diversity and promoting academic and competitive excellence. NCAA Equestrian student-athletes, coaches, and programs adhere to their respective NCAA Division rules and regulations. Currently 23 colleges and universities sponsor equestrian as an NCAA emerging sport with more being added each year.
The NCEA features a head-to-head team competition format in four events: Hunter Seat Equitation on the Flat and Over Fences, Western Horsemanship and Reining. Student-athletes from each team are matched by random draw prior to the meet for each event. Horses are designated by event to be ridden by each pair of opposing student-athletes competing head-to-head. The rider receiving the higher score from the judges earns a point for her team. The team with the most combined points from the four events is the winner.
The NCEA National Championship is held in April each year. Qualification for this seeded bracket championship requires participation in a minimum of five NCEA head-to-head meets during the regular season. The NCEA National Champion is determined by competition between the two teams that advanced from the semifinal meets.
The NCEA promotes the advancement of NCAA Equestrian within college athletics. With the uniting of many in the horse industry to support NCAA Equestrian, reaching the required 40 sponsoring schools to advance Equestrian from NCAA Emerging to NCAA Championship sport status is in our future.
For more information, please visit our website collegiateequestrian.com.
USEA Intercollegiate Eventing
In 2014, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors approved the creation of the Intercollegiate Eventing Program as an official program of the USEA. Originally proposed with input from the Intercollegiate Eventing League, the program was established to provide a framework on which eventing teams and individual competition could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. Collegiate athletic programs have been the training grounds for Olympians, amateur athletes and professional athletes for generations. Enabling students to train in the Olympic sport of eventing is a natural addition.
Intercollegiate Team Challenges are quickly becoming popular additions to recognized horse trials in the United States. Teams competing in events identified as Intercollegiate Team Challenges are able to self-identify to the competition organizer, and will compete in the regular horse trial competition as individuals. Combining their individual scores, their team scores will be tabulated and matched against other teams. An inaugural USEA Intercollegiate Championship took place at the Virginia Horse Center in 2016, and remained there through 2018 on Memorial Day weekend. In 2019, the Championship will rotate to Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Ga. one week earlier. The USEA encourages all schools to send as many competitors as possible. The event offers Beginner Novice – Intermediate. There are no qualifications necessary for this championship at this time.
For more information about the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program please visit www.useventing.com/membership/intercollegiate.