National Collegiate Equestrain AssociationPresented by USEFPresented by AQHAThe Official Web Site of NCAA Varsity Equestrian
National Collegiate Equestrain Association
AQHA Collegiate Horsemanship Challenge – November 19-20, 2014 – Oklahoma City, OK
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  Why should you add equestrian?  


Title IX/Gender Equity

The average size of current Women’s Equestrian Teams is 46 with a range from 20 to 85 athletes. Equestrian can have tremendous impact for universities in need of gender equity. NCAA allows The sport of Equestrian 15 scholarships. Equestrian has an average GPA of 3.3.

New/Untapped Donor Base

The horse industry has over a $112 billion dollar economic impact each year with over 7 million Americans involved. Many programs have found new sponsorships with feed, animal health products, apparel and trailer companies. NCEA currently received support from United State Equestrian Federation, American Quarter Horse Association, Farnam, Aflac, National Reining Horse Association, Dover Saddlery, Adequan, ExtraCo Event Center, Ariat, Ortho Equine, Purina Mills, and United States Hunter Jumper Association.

Student Athletes

There is already a large pool of student athletes on your campus! Equestrian is a sport that attracts many young college students. The number of riders participating in tryouts ranges from 5 to 120 with an average of 46 athletes on a team.

Equestrian athletes tend to be strong students with high grade point averages and graduation rates. Equestrian grade point averages rank among the highest of all student athletes at sponsoring institutions.

Television/Media Exposure

Major networks already carry equestrian activities (NBC, ESPN, Outdoor Life Network, TVG, and College Sports TV). The Varsity National Championship has been televised on both CSTV and OLN.
Cost per Student Athlete

Equestrian ranks among the least expensive sports at $3-7,000 per student athlete. Total operating expenses range from $100,000-450,000.

Competition Format

Athletes, coaches and fans enjoy the flexibility of equestrian. Teams compete in a head-to-head or in a tournament style format. Each team is required to ride the same horse and judges’ scores are compared across horses. The host school provides the horses and tack at each competition, so hauling horses is not required. The format includes two hunt seat events; equitation over fences and Equitation on the flat and two Western Events; Reining and Horsemanship.  A university may choose to offer only English or western based on the student body’s interest.

Post-Season Competition

The NCAA Equestrian competition season culminates with the National Collegiate Equestrian Associations Championships, the precursor to the NCAA Equestrian National Championships. Each year there are three titles at stake: Overall Team Champion, Hunter Seat Team Champion and Western Team Champion.

Recently All-American Title has been added to Championships. The nation’s top riders compete to be the best in their event. The competition for All-American is based on the riders success throughout the season and awarded at Championships in Waco, Texas in April.

Another event recently added is an individual Invitational competition at an open show in February the World Equestrian Festival in Florida. Riders from the top Universities compete on sale horses in an equitation class during the show. This provides NCAA Equestrian riders to be showcased within the horse industry!


Currently, NCAA allows each program to have one head coach and two assistant coaches. Most programs have at least 2 full time coaches.

In most cases, programs have met their horse needs through individual donations to the animal science, athletic or university foundation and/or from a pre-existing club team. Some programs choose to lease or borrow horses instead of owning. Each team has an average of 40 horses. 

Institutions with existing equine and/or animal science departments will typically already have facilities on campus. However, the minimal requirements for any program are: riding area, jumps, stalls/paddocks for horses, tack (saddle, bridle, etc.) and storage. Generally, facilities will be the largest part of the budget for an equestrian program. Southern Methodist pays one flat fee per year and the facility provides horse, practice facilities, tack, vet services and feed. Others, such as Kansas State and the University of South Carolina lease a privately owned stable.

Current programs have been able to envelop Equestrian within their athletic department policy.

Many programs have tapped into the local horse community to help offset cost.  Oklahoma State University was able to acquire sponsorship for a horse trailer and jumps while securing deals with western wear stores for uniforms. You will soon discover there is an untapped market and unique interest group available to you.

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From The Student


Our Mission: To advance the sport of Equestrian from Emerging to Championship status with the NCAA by promoting the benefits of Equestrian to universities, riders, prospective student-athletes, parents, horse industry professionals and sponsors while developing the rules and competition format.

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