My name is Lexie Thacker, president and founder of the Cal Poly Eventing Team. When I first came to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly, I ended up boarding with several eventers who shared my passion for the sport. Back in 2014, we were inspired to start our own eventing team at Cal Poly with the implementation of the Intercollegiate Eventing Program by the USEA. However, due to logistic complications, we were unable to form until the start of 2018. We are now proud to have officially started our team with a fantastic group of hard-working and dedicated riders.
Lexie Thacker and Best Kept Secret competing at The Event at Woodside. Marcus Green Outdoor Photography Photo courtesy of the Cal Poly Eventing Team.
As we are still in our beginning stages, we have a small group of eight actively competing riders. We are the newest addition of equestrian athletes to Cal Poly, which also hosts an English and Western show team, dressage team, rodeo team, and polo team. Cal Poly has recently renovated the equine center on campus and now boasts brand new barns, large round pens, a walker, and a covered arena with state-of-the-art footing. Due to construction, the equine unit has not been open for boarding until June 2018.
Molly Gibbons and Calico at The Event at Woodside. Chris Gibbons Photo courtesy of the Cal Poly Eventing Team.
Membership to the Cal Poly Event Team is open to any enrolled student in good academic standing with Cal Poly who wants to learn more about the sport. However, competing members must provide their own horse to ride and compete with. Most of our members board their horses at facilities off-campus and utilize their own trainers in the area either on-site or by trailering out for lessons. The team does not have a designated coach, but there are several amazing trainers located in the Central Coast area.
Kaley Sapper and Tuscan Sun (right) representing Area VI at the 2017 North American Junior/Young Rider Championships at Rebecca Farm. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
Our team is composed of riders of all levels ranging from Beginner Novice to twos-star. Many of our members have roots in Young Rider and Pony Club programs across the country, with two of our members representing Area VI at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships. Kaley Sapper and Tuscan Sun earned a team gold medal in the 2017 CH-J* at Rebecca Farm and Josey Thompson and Pistol Annie earned a team bronze medal in the 2016 CICOY2* at the Colorado Horse Park. We are extremely lucky to be just 45 minutes south of one of the premier eventing facilities in Area VI, Twin Rivers Ranch, and 40 minutes from Paso Robles Horse Park, which hosts rated hunter/jumper shows and multiple schooling shows throughout the year.
Josey Thompson and Pistol Annie competing at The Event at Rebecca Farm. Shannon Brinkman Photo courtesy of the Cal Poly Eventing Team.
We recently just participated in our first Intercollegiate Eventing Challenge at The Spring Event at Woodside organized by the UC Davis Event Team. Five of our members competed in the challenge at levels ranging from Novice to Intermediate. The challenge was a huge success, with six teams competing in the challenge. Lexie Thacker, Josey Thompson, and Molly Gibbons finished third, and Kaley Sapper and Tania Senter contributed respectful scores to their team which also featured Sonoma State eventer Amber Pearson. We hope the success of this challenge continues to grow the intercollegiate eventing community on the West Coast so we can someday host our own Championship like that on the East Coast.
Cal Poly quartermark by Kaley Sapper. Photo courtesy of the Cal Poly Eventing Team.
About the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program
The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was established in 2014 to provide a framework within which eventing teams and individual competitors could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. The USEA offers a discount of $25 on annual USEA memberships for current students of universities and colleges registered as Affiliates with the USEA and many events across the country now offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges throughout the year, where collegiate eventers can compete individually as well as on teams with their fellow students.
In Intercollegiate Team Challenges, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level to account for differences in level difficulty 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. Click here to learn more about the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.
The USEA wants to feature your collegiate eventing team in our Intercollegiate Eventing Spotlight series! Please send your story and photos to Jessica Duffy to be featured.