The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was created in 2014, and has since taken off with over forty schools affiliated and more than 100 members registered as collegiate riders. One of the biggest milestones of the program was the introduction of the Intercollegiate Leaderboard in 2016. This let college riders earn points at competitions around the country which reflected in their year-end status on the leaderboard. It worked much in the way that the amateur and junior leaderboards worked, and there was an Intercollegiate listing for each level.
At the 2016 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention the first ever Intercollegiate year-end winners were recognized, and we’ve caught up with them to learn a little more about our inaugural winners.
Preliminary – Sarah Pyne
Sarah Pyne and Call Me Commander. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
Sarah Pyne is a third year architecture major at Clemson University. She competed this year with two of her own horses, Quintessential, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, and Call Me Commander, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding.
I am a third year architecture major at Clemson University. I have two horses I currently compete: Quintessential, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding who I have had for the past four years and just recently did our first Intermediate; and Call Me Commander, a 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding who I have owned for a year and half and did his first CCI* this spring.
“I looked specifically for schools with an eventing team. Clemson was the perfect fit,” Pyne said on deciding which school to attend. Since joining the Clemson Eventing Team, she has taken on a leadership role as the team’s Vice President. She and the other executive members wanted to take the team to the next level. “We wanted to revamp it a little. We were hoping to create more of a team bond outside of riding. So while we continued to do clinics and compete together, we also added in team dinners and movie nights. We have a blast together.”
Training – Katherine Knowles
Katherine Knowles and Ceonna. Photo by Kristyn Howard.
Katherine Knowles is a second year student at the University of Virginia. She and her own Cillnabradden Ceonna competed for the Virginia Eventing and Dressage Team to top the training level collegiate leaderboard.
Knowles imported the 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse competed throughout Area II in 2016, most notably winning the training level area championships at Virginia Horse Trials in October. “I originally wasn't going to try to ride and do school but when I got ‘Ceonna’ I knew I was going to take her with me. Finding a school with barns in the area and an active team was a top priority. When I looked at UVA I knew about their team and met a few of the members before I applied, so I knew I would join when I got to grounds,” she said.
“So far it has been fun going to shows and doing clinics together and I met a lot of great people through the team. Competing in college can be really tough so it is great to have a group of people who all support one another.”
Novice – Savannah Welch
Savannah Welch and Langcaster. Shannon Brinkman Photo.
Savannah Welch rode her own Langcaster, a 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding, with the Texas A&M Evening Team this year to end atop the Novice Intercollegiate Leaderboard. She got “Lanny” as an inexperienced 5-year-old, and has since transformed him into a bold competitor with the help of her trainer, Brook Baker.
In addition to Texas A&M, Welch also rides with a private competition team, Freedom Farms Eventing. She and Lanny made the trek to North Carolina this fall to compete in the USEA Nutrena American Eventing Championships, where they finished in 13th place in the novice amateur division.
“I got involved with the Intercollegiate team because I always wanted to ride on a school team, but preferred eventing over hunter or equitation, and I loved the fact that I could actually compete my own horse [with the eventing team,” she said.
Beginner Novice – Lily Barlow
Lily Barlow and Tullymor's Houdini. P.TEN Marketing/Erik Jacobs Photo.
Lily Barlow is pursuing a political science degree at Columbus State University, where she is involved with the CSU Eventing Team. This year she primarily competed Werner Geven’s 13-year-old Connemara gelding Tullymor’s Houdini. Barlow has the ride on “Sampson” until Geven’s daughter, Tessa, is ready to take her pony back. Barlow and Geven have made tremendous strides with Sampson, from introducing him to wearing tack to exposing him to different show environments. Their work so far has been a smashing success as the pair have won their last three shows at the Beginner Novice level.
Barlow rides Sampson with the CSU Evening Team, which is based out of Poplar Place Farm in Hamilton, Ga. “I decided on CSU because I received a working student position with Werner Geven and with CSU being so close I’ve been able to compete, learn how to run an eventing business and also work toward my degree in political science,” she said.
To learn more about the USEA Intercollegiate Program, click here.