May 16, 2020

A Timeline of the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
The Texas A&M Team won the coveted spirit award in 2019. USEA/Kate Lokey Photo.

In honor of what would have been the fifth annual USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships, let’s celebrate the past and learn how the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program has evolved into what it is today. Over the past five years, the program has grown into a national program with unparalleled enthusiasm and it first started in 2014.

2014 – The USEA Board of Governors approved the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

2015 – This was the first year of the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program. The first official intercollegiate team challenge was held at Poplar Place Horse Trials and was called the ‘Columbus State Team Challenge.' This team challenge had eight teams competing and USC Aiken took home top honors (the full results can be found here).

2016 – The inaugural USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships were held at Virginia H.T. in Lexington, Virginia. This was the first year of having a Championships and it saw eight schools, nine teams, and 37 competitors.

  • Champions: University of Georgia Red Team with Emily Cox on FR's Check It Out Now, Kaitlyn Ruff on Shadowfax, Devon Olivier on Karisma and Emily Cardin on Schwalbestrum
  • Reserve Champions: Clemson University Tigers with Samantha Hay on Tre Jolie, Anna Fogerty on Dunlavin Fox, Sarah Pyne on Quintessential, and Alex Peterson on Willie Wiggins
  • Third place: Auburn University with Andrea Glazer on Arctic Fernhill, Sallie Johnson on One Moore Miracle, Kayley Bush on Cooper, and Lydia Kennedy on Subtle Dream Unveiled
  • Spirit Award Winner: University of Georgie Red Team

US Equestrian, World Equestrian Brands, and the USEA joined as sponsors of the program.

The USEA Intercollegiate Committee was formed in July 2016 with Andy Bowles as the Committee Chair.

The national USEA Intercollegiate leaderboards became active.

University of Georgia Red Team, USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship winners. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

2017 – Out of the four years of holding a Championship, this year saw the most drastic increase in participation. The 2017 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships at Virginia H.T. doubled in size and it had 17 schools, 21 teams, and 84 competitors.

  • Champions: Clemson University Tigers with Samantha Hay on Tre’ Jolie, Alexandra Peterson on Willie Wiggins, Sarah Pyne on Quintessential, and Samantha Messamer on Finn McCool
  • Reserve Champions: University of Kentucky. The team consisted of Alexa Ehlers on Amistoso, Mia Fox on Sport Tracker, Emma Higgins on Jones Player, and Michaela Yowaiski on Darla Doll
  • Third place: Auburn University Orange Team with Kaley Bush on Cooper, Jamie Cronin on Coeur d’Amour, Cari Budney on Solo, and Lydia Kennedy on Double Dare
  • Spirit Award Winner: Texas A&M University

EasyCare and RideSafe joined as sponsors of the program.

The USEA Intercollegiate Committee Chair position transitioned to Leslie Threlkeld.

Clemson University Tigers won the 2017 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship. Leslie Threlkeld Photo.

2018 – This was the third year of the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships and the third consecutive year for Virginia H.T. to host the Championships. The 2018 Championships had 18 schools, 23 teams, and 87 competitors.

  • Champions: Auburn University Orange Team with Lydia Kennedy on Subtle Dream Unveiled, Sallie Johnson on Looking Rosey, Aubrey Wagner on Clooney MS, and Meredith Kramer on Kentucky Gentleman
  • Reserve Champions: Clemson University Tigers team with Sarah Pyne on Quintessential, April Crawford on Tatham, Alexandra Peterson on Captain Crunch, and Kaitlyn Bardos on The Myth of Arion
  • Third place: USC Aiken with Grace Fulton on Yippee Ki Ki Yay, Keileigh McMurray on Fitz, Kirsten LaVassar on Into Thin Air, and Brooke Webb on Pelear Por Oro
  • Spirit Award Winner: University of Kentucky

The ‘Meet the Teams’ preview article was introduced for the first time on the USEA website and social media.

Virginia Horse Trials joined as a sponsor of the program.

The 2018 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships went to the Auburn University Orange Team. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

2019 – In 2019, the Championships had a new venue, a new division, and new criteria for the Spirit Award. This was the first year the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships were held at Chattahoochee Hills H.T. in Fairburn, Georgia. The graduate division was introduced, and the Spirit Award had new criteria that included a series of small contests throughout the weekend. The 2019 Championships had 16 schools, 22 teams, and 89 competitors.

  • Champions: Auburn University Orange Team with Aubrey Wagner on Fernhill Sinatra, Sallie Johnson on Things to Ponder, Dorothy Dreelin on Subtle Dreams Unveiled, and Isabel Franklin on Anchorman
  • Reserve Champions: University of Kentucky Blue Team with Macy Clark on Mimi’s Musical, Jackie LeMastus on Lup The Lupe, Elizabeth Silvia-Chandley on Kontiki, and Mia Fox on Sport Tracker
  • Third Place: University of Kentucky Wildcats Team with Jackie Lemastus on Exmoor Denver, Katelyn Hagerty on Dutch Harbor, Claire Rowlands on Category 5, and Cora Severs on Cuervo
  • Spirit Award Winner: Texas A&M University

This was the second consecutive year for Auburn University to claim the Championship title and the second year for Texas A&M University to win the Spirit Award.

A Championship hype video and a Championships recap video were both featured the first time on the USEA website and social media.

FITS, Flair, Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials all join as sponsors of the program.

Fresno County Horse Park submitted an expression of interest to host a future Intercollegiate West Coast Championships. The USEA Board of Governors voted to have a pilot year first showing participation from six different colleges/universities.

Auburn Eventing Orange Team became two-time winners of the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships in 2019. USEA/Kate Lokey Photo.

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. Many events across the country now offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges 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.

The USEA would like to thank Bates Saddles, EQuine AMerica Magazine, FITS, World Equestrian Brands, FLAIR and US Equestrian for sponsoring the Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

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This has been a difficult decision, but with the current pandemic situation at hand, we feel that this is the correct and ‘common sense’ direction to take. We are developing a plan to host a shorter, smaller, and more focused competition. We will be using state and local protocols to help guide us through this. Safety is paramount at Rebecca Farm, for both equine and human participants.

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