Mar 18, 2024

Double the Fun for the Spirit Award Contests at the 2024 USEA Intercollegiate & Interscholastic Eventing Championships

By Kaleigh Collett - USEA Staff | Press Release
The 2023 Spirit Award Champions at the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship: University of Kentucky. USEA/Shelby Allen photo

The coveted Spirit Award, which originated from the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship and quickly became as important as the competition itself, will be returning this year with double the excitement at the 2024 USEA Intercollegiate & Interscholastic Eventing Championships! With the two program championships merging for the first time, the organizing team at Stable View is committed to making the weekend an unforgettable experience for these middle school, high school, and undergraduate students. Separate Spirit Contests will be offered for each program, and Stable View has generously donated perpetual trophies for the two contest champions. The 2024 USEA Intercollegiate & Interscholastic Championships will be held at the Stable View Local Charities H.T. on May 4-5, 2024 in Aiken, South Carolina. Click here to learn more and prepare to enter on opening day tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19!

As per tradition, the Spirit Award contests will be assessed by Affiliate, meaning each college or university in the Intercollegiate Eventing Program, or each club in the IEL program, will be competing as one, rather than each Championship team of 3-4 riders being assessed alone. For example, all of the members of the University of Kentucky team won the Spirit Award at the 2023 Championship. For each program, Stable View will determine 1st through 3rd place winners based on the cumulative results of the following spirit activities and attributes: Barn Decorations, Hobby Horse Contest, Mechanical Bull Riding Contest, Pavilion Window Decorations, and Overall Spirit, Sportsmanship, and Camaraderie.

Barn Decorating Contest

The barn decorating contest has traditionally been a staple of the Intercollegiate Eventing Championships, and it gives the teams a chance to flex their creativity while promoting their group to the rest of the competitors. Whether it be life-size cutouts of each horse’s head gracing the outside of their stalls, fast facts on each horse and rider combo scattered through the barn, streamers and balloons in the team’s signature colors, or more, the barn decorating contest is an opportunity to scream “team pride” to everyone on-site. Competitors have until Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET to perfect their decorations before the judges take their walk-through. The winners will be announced at Saturday evening’s Graze and Gaze party.

Hobby Horse Contest

A fun twist on last year’s Bouncy Horse Championship, Stable View will be hosting a Hobby Horse jumping contest on Saturday evening during the Graze and Gaze party. Each school or club will elect one member to represent them in the official competition, and scores will be determined by time and their ability to complete the correct course while keeping the poles up. Once each group’s representative has laid down their round, anyone else interested in participating can take their turn around their course.

Mechanical Bull Riding Contest

In addition to the Hobby Horse Contest, there will also be a Mechanical Bull Riding competition. Again, each school or club will elect one member to represent them in the official contest. Do you have someone on your team who is known for being notoriously “sticky” in the tack? Elect them to represent your group! The results will be determined in order of longest ride times. Once the team representatives have competed, anyone will be welcome to try their hand at the bull!

Pavilion Window Decorating Contest

Finally, in addition to the barn decorating, each affiliate will get a section of the window upstairs in Stable View’s Pavilion, which overlooks the main arena, to decorate with their colors and mascots. All window decorating must be completed by Sunday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m. EST for the judges to make their assessments by midday. The winners of this competition will be announced just before the final Spirit Award Champions are crowned at the Awards Ceremony at the end of the competition.

Overall Spirit, Sportsmanship, and Camaraderie

How does your team interact with fellow competitors from different schools or clubs? How do you treat the volunteers on-site helping with the Championships? How would you react if an opposing competitor asked for help? All of these concepts come into play in the assessment of groups’ overall spirit, sportsmanship, and camaraderie at the event. The way competitors act towards each other and their opponents, as well as to the organizers, officials, volunteers, and staff, will be heavily considered in the final placings, as kindness and good-hearted competition are at the heart of the true spirit of the Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Eventing Championships!

In the end, the scores from all four activities and the assessment of each group’s overall spirit, sportsmanship, and camaraderie will be tallied up to determine the Spirit Award Champions for each program. Each Spirit Champion will be the first recipient of the new perpetual trophies and will receive Stable View saddle pads for every member of their team during the Awards Ceremony at the end of the competition. For the Intercollegiate Spirit Award, past winners from 2016 to present will already be recognized on the cup, while this year’s champion in the IEL Spirit Contest will be the first to add their names to said trophy. Reserve champions of the contest will receive stable view hats, and third-place winners will receive Stable View mugs.

Entries for the Championships open tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19, and will close on Tuesday, April 16. The USEA anticipates significant interest in participating in the Championships and entries are limited to a maximum of 400 competitors, so early entry is highly recommended to ensure your spot. All Collegiate Teams and IEL Affiliates are welcome and encouraged to enter to compete at the 2024 Championships. There are no qualifications necessary to enter, but teams represented must be registered Affiliates of the USEA. Don’t forget to submit your Collegiate Team Applications or IEL Application Form, along with your official rosters, to Jennifer Hardwick, USEA Senior Director of Membership Services, at [email protected] as soon as possible to ensure your members are eligible to compete.

Tentative team rosters for the Championships are due no later than the closing date on April 16, and definite team rosters must be provided by 12:00 p.m. EST on Monday, April 29. For the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship, please submit your team rosters to Leslie Threlkeld, Chair of the Intercollegiate Eventing Committee, at [email protected]. For the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League Championship, please submit your team rosters to Chris Donovan, IEL Task Force member, at [email protected]. Alumni Cup rosters are due to Emma Young, Stable View Team Member, at [email protected], by April 16.

Please be sure to include your stabling requests with your entry. Separate stabling blocks will be allotted for each program, and each affiliate will receive one complimentary tack stall upon entry. Alumni can request to be stabled with fellow Alumni Cup participants in close proximity to the College Town stabling, but they will not be able to be included in stabling with the Intercollegiate Eventing Championship participants.

If you plan to compete in the 2024 Intercollegiate and IEL Championships, don’t forget to sign up to join the Stable View WhatsApp group for the Championships. Click here or scan the QR code to the right to join the group. The team at Stable View will post regular updates and share news related to the championships in this group chat, so members will be first to know about all the exciting updates as the event takes shape.

Any questions regarding the Intercollegiate Eventing Program or Interscholastic Eventing League and the upcoming 2024 Championships can be directed to USEA Staff Liaison, Kaleigh Collett, at [email protected].

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 at universities and colleges registered as Affiliates with the USEA. Many events across the country offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges where collegiate eventers can compete individually or 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 Intercollegiate Eventing Championship is a capstone event for the program, which is held annually in the spring. The 2024 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship will be held at Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina, on May 4-5. Click here to learn more about the Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

The USEA would like to thank Bates Saddles, Horse & Country, Kerrits, U.S. Equestrian, WeRideTogether, and World Equestrian Brands for sponsoring the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

About the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL)

In August 2020, the USEA Board of Governors approved the creation of the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) as an official program of the USEA. The mission of IEL is to unite junior riders who are in the 5th—12th grades and provide a supportive community through which students can continue to pursue their riding interests. A group of junior members in the 5th—12th grade who share a common bond, such as the same barn, school, Pony Club, or other connection, can register with the USEA as an IEL Affiliate. The USEA Board of Governors recently approved an inaugural IEL Championship to kick off in 2024 at Stable View in Aiken, South Carolina, which will be held in conjunction with the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships on May 4-5, 2024. Click here to learn more about the Interscholastic Eventing League.

The USEA would like to thank Kerrits and Horse & Country for sponsoring the USEA Interscholastic Eventing League.

May 22, 2024 Instructors

The Importance of Foot Work for Eventing Horses

Why do some horses and riders always seem to find their balance and their feet when the unexpected happens? The answer may lie in the time-tested practice of gymnastic exercises. Every rider, every horse, at every level can benefit from the use of ground poles, cavalletti, and gymnastic exercises over small fences. This article is aimed at improving the balance and stability of both horse and rider. Improved balance and stability not only contribute to better show jumping and cross-country jumping, but are the foundations of more secure and safer riding.

May 21, 2024 Eventing News

USEA Now Accepting Coach Applications for 2025 EA21 Program

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is excited to announce that coach applications are now being accepted for the 2025 USEA Emerging Athlete U21 Program (EA21). One additional coach will be selected and hired for a three-year term for the EA21 program, teaching one two-day summertime regional clinic annually throughout the term.

May 21, 2024 Eventing News

Now On Course: Laury Marshall and Finley Have Learned The Sport Together

Sometimes, a kind word is all it takes to make someone’s day, says Laury Marshall. Marshall and Finley, her 17-hand Thoroughbred mare, had just finished their dressage test at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds. They’d performed solidly, good for a 36.4 and middle-of-the-pack standing in the Beginner Novice Rider championship division at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

May 20, 2024 Interscholastic

USEA Podcast #361: Reliving the USEA Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Eventing Championships

We are still riding on a bit of a high after the success of the 2024 USEA Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Eventing Championships, so we loved taking the opportunity to chat about this year's event with Stable View's Barry Oliff, member of the winning Intercollegiate team Hayden Wathen, and member of the winning Interscholastic team Collins Zgutowicz. Let the countdown to the 2025 championships begin...

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA