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Fri, 2017-03-03 08:42

USEA Intercollegiate Championship Returns to Virginia Horse Trials in May

Authored By: Leslie Threlkeld
The participating teams from the 2016 Intercollegiate Eventing Championship. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

The U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) and Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) are looking forward to the 2017 Intercollegiate Championship at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va. May 25-28. After the positive response from the inaugural Intercollegiate Championship at VHT in 2016, it is expected that this year’s competition will feature a greater number of participating college eventing teams from around the country, cultivating a true Championship opportunity.

Intercollegiate Eventing has grown exponentially since it became an official program of the USEA in 2014. USEA now recognizes over 40 affiliated colleges and universities in the U.S., and there are 12 team challenges scheduled for 2017 thus far.

“After the success of the inaugural Intercollegiate Eventing Championship in 2016, we expect the 2017 Championship to be bigger and better! We are aware of teams preparing and fundraising to attend from all over the country,” said USEA CEO Rob Burk. 

“Intercollegiate eventing in the United States continues to show strong growth and we are beginning to see a number of colleges and universities take this competition seriously. Being competitive at the Championships is an enormous point of pride for the students, the schools and the communities of our Collegiate members,” Burk added.

At last year’s Championship, 37 students from 10 colleges and universities forming 10 teams competed for top honors. The University of Georgia (UGA) Red Team were the eventual winners, but the competition was close, with less than 10 points separating the top four teams. UGA also won the coveted Spirit Award and received a refund on their entries to VHT.

“Last year our team took home the title of Intercollegiate Champions, so we cannot wait to return to the Virginia Horse Trials to defend our title,” said Emily Cox, President of the Eventing Team at UGA. “As it stands, 16 members of our team are planning on making the trip to Virginia to compete in the Intercollegiate Championship. We have high hopes that we can remain Champions for the second year in a row.

“Leading up to the Championship, we will be competing in at least three team challenges including Poplar Place in March and Chattahoochee Hills and FENCE in April. We hope these competitions will help us assess our strengths and weaknesses so we can fully prepare for Championship and be sure to bring our A-game!”

The University of Georgia won the Spirit Award thanks in part to their coordinating cross-country attire. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

All college competitors will once be stabled together in “College Town” which will be located in a large stabling complex with an indoor arena. Each participating school will be given a designated area to set up gazebos and tents to promote their school and equestrian programs. There will also be a dedicated scoreboard to keep up with the college team standings and championship announcements.

The Spirit Award, sponsored by VHT, is up for grabs again, rewarding refunds on entries to the winning team. UGA set the bar high for school pride last year with matching saddle pads and outfits, painted faces and impressive team camaraderie. Will another school be able to bring more spirit?

New this year, VHT will host an evening meet and greet so the teams may get to know each other and hear important announcements about the competition. All teams are encouraged to attend a special unmounted ceremony at the conclusion of the event to recognize the top placed teams and Spirit Award winner and to distribute team ribbons and prizes.

“We’re looking forward to another fantastic Championship this year,” said VHT organizer Andy Bowles. “Last year the students set a high standard for the level of competition, and we witnessed a truly impressive display of team camaraderie and school pride. We are honored to host the Intercollegiate Championship once again, and we hope to welcome more schools and teams at the event.”

“The Intercollegiate Program is important because these young adult riders are the future of eventing. It is critical that the senior members of the sport do everything possible to help them continue participating throughout their college years and into their professional lives. VHT is proud to contribute to that effort,” continued Bowles.

The USEA encourages all schools to send as many competitors as possible to the Championship. Schools may send multiple teams, and each team may consist of riders competing at different levels. Each team in the Championship will consist of three or four members from Beginner Novice through Intermediate as well as CCI* and CIC2*.

Scoring and Team Dynamics

To account for differences in level difficulty, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level, and then the individual scores are added together to determine the team score. Only the best three individual scores will count towards the team score, so teams of four will have one “drop” score.

The coefficient system that will be applied at the Championship is as follows:

Beginner Novice: 1.1

Novice: 1

Training: 0.9

Preliminary: 0.85

Intermediate: 0.75

CCI*: 0.75

CIC2*: .70

The team with the lowest score at the end of all three phases will be named the 2017 Intercollegiate Champion. Team ribbons and prizes will be awarded through sixth place, thanks to the generous USEA sponsors.

To participate in the Championship, schools must be affiliated with the USEA. For more information, contact Kate Lokey at [email protected] or (703) 779-9897.

The May 25-28 Virginia Horse Trials CCI/CIC and Horse Trials opens on March 28 for the FEI divisions and April 11 for the horse trials divisions. Click here to view the complete Omnibus listing. All riders should list their school on the stabling form to ensure they are stabled together.

About the USEA Intercollegiate Program

In 2014, the 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. Click here to see if your school is an University Affiliate.

Don’t forget if you have not yet renewed your membership with the USEA – Collegiate members get a $25 discount! Log onto your Online Services Account to renew, and a $25 refund will be issued after the USEA has received proof of enrollment.

About the Virginia Horse Trials

The Virginia Horse Trials has been a premier Eventing destination for over 25 years. Situated on 600 acres, the Virginia Horse Center is a first-class venue. Brian and Penny Ross founded the Virginia Horse Trials in 1989, and organized the Event through its 25th Anniversary in 2014. Andy Bowles took over the organization of the Virginia Horse Trials in 2015 and looks forward to maintaining it as a destination for east coast eventers in the years to come.

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