In 1998, Equestrian was classified as an NCAA emerging sport. At that time there were six participating teams (Auburn, Fresno State, Georgia, Oklahoma State, South Carolina and Texas A&M). Today there are currently 23 colleges and universities offering Equestrian as a varsity sport, and more continue to add the program each year.
The competition format is a 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. Prior to their competition ride each competitor is given a four-minute warm-up (five minute for Reining) to familiarize themselves with the horse and prepare for their competition ride. This format of competition was developed to level the playing field between riders and to allow each rider the same opportunity on the same horse. There is only one elite level of competition for the four events.
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (formerly Varsity Equestrian) 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.
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association Championships (NCEAC) is currently held in Waco, Texas. 12 hunter seat and 12 western teams are invited to compete. The NCEA Selection Committee invites these teams based on their win/loss record throughout the season. The NCEAC is made possible with the help of generous sponsors, volunteers and donors of current universities and local horse trainers that contribute competition horses, tack and horse transport. Two nationally recognized and carded judges in both Hunter Seat and Western travel to Texas to judge the four days of competition. More than 200 student-athletes from across the country compete at the Championships.
Many people within the horse industry have united together to advance the sport of Equestrian to full NCAA championship status. In order to attain this goal and hold a NCAA sponsored Equestrian National Championship, there must be 40 Division I/II schools that sponsor Equestrian at their institution.
Want Equestrian to be your next sport? Find out more about starting an Equestrian program at your university.
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NCEA NAMES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) today named Margaret A. "Maggie" Bellville their first-ever Executive Director.
Formerly known as Varsity Equestrian, the NCEA was established to advance the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sport of women's equestrian to championship status. To be classified as an NCAA sport, a total of 40 schools must adopt equestrian as a scholarship sport at the varsity level. There currently are 23 schools competing in the NCEA...read more.