Feb 28, 2024

Kate Boggan Champions the Spirit of Intercollegiate Eventing in Her Professional Career

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Kate Boggan at the 2017 USEA Intercollegiate Championships (left). Shannon Boggan photo Kate Boggan and her horse, Vixie (right) Britt Croft Photography photo

Kate Boggan describes her younger self as your typical horse-crazy kid.

“As soon as I saw a horse, I was obsessed,” the born and raised Texan recalled. “It was the most expensive mistake my parents ever made taking me to my first rodeo as a toddler.”

She got her start in a Western saddle but transitioned to English tack around the age of 6. When she was 10, her family moved just outside of San Antonio, and Boggan wound up at Kinswood Farms in Boerne, Texas.

“It was an eventing barn, and I just kind of fell into the sport, and I went to my first event around 11 or 12 years old and fell head over heels in love after that," she recalled.

Boggan has been eventing ever since, so it only made sense when she went off to college that she keep pursuing the sport she loved. However, at the time her alma mater Texas A&M did not have an eventing team—but that wouldn’t last long.

“I got to take my horse with me to college, and I landed at a boarding barn there called Leaning Oaks, and Dr. Janet Martin ran that facility,” she said. “Back in the day, she had run around Rolex, so it was an eventing barn, and her daughter, Natalie, had talked about wanting to get an eventing team going. There was a group of us there that wanted to get one going, but we kind of hemmed and hawed a bit at first.”

The summer after Boggan’s freshman year, in an act of what she describes as serendipity, she wound up interning at the USEA. She interned with the USEA again the summer after her junior year as well, and one of her job duties was assisting with the first-ever USEA Intercollegiate Championships. From that moment on, she was sold.

“I got back home, and we did all the paperwork,” shared Boggan who was elected as the first-ever president of the team. They spent the whole 2016 school year fundraising, and in 2017 they sent two teams of four to the Intercollegiate Championships where one of the teams took home fifth overall, and Texas A&M was honored with the Spirit Award.

Shannon Boggan photo.

“I don’t like to toot our own horn, but I do think we set a little bit of a standard for the other teams,” joked Boggan in regards to winning the Spirit Award. “Eventing in Texas is growing, but it's still spread out, and as a kid, I was always the odd one out as an eventer while all of the other kids did rodeo. We didn’t know how we would actually fare competition-wise at the Championships against all of the East Coast teams, but we knew we could go in with the goal of winning the Spirit Award. There was no question in our minds. We were bringing that home because that spirit is just true to Texas A&M. People joke that it is a bit of a cult here, and they are not wrong. We are a very tradition-driven school.”

Boggan obtained her undergraduate and her Masters from Texas A&M, and then the next phase of her life was staring her in the eyes: adulthood. Thankfully, her internship at the USEA had given her an idea as to what she might want to pursue in her professional career.

“I tried really hard to talk my parents into letting me take a gap year to be a working student,” she noted. “They weren’t really into that idea, which in hindsight, I am thankful they had me get started on my educational career. I went into college thinking that if I didn’t have a job where I was touching a horse every single day, then I wouldn’t be happy, so I never thought I could do an office job. But then my internship at the USEA totally changed my mindset. I realized that I could work in the horse world but have most of my weekends off and holidays off and paid vacation time, but I am in an office talking about horses 24/7.”

Through all of the connections she had made through her time in the Intercollegiate program, Boggan found herself on the phone with Tara Bostwick, CEO of the Aiken Horse Park Foundation. Boggan spent the final semester of her Masters program interning in Aiken, South Carolina, and after that was hired full-time to serve as the Director of Marketing at the Aiken Horse Park Foundation.

In her role, Boggan gets to play around in many different equestrian disciplines, but her favorite part of her job is working on the $100,000 Conceal Grand Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field, Presented by THIS.

“That is my baby,” she shared. “I love that event, and I am very fortunate that my internship was the beginning of that event, so I have been here from the inaugural Showcase. I have been a part of every single one we have had so far. It has allowed me to work with and meet and now call so many of my heroes from my childhood my friends.”

Boggan still finds time in her busy schedule to continue eventing as well. Christine Quinn Photography photo

Boggan encourages all other college-bound eventers to consider joining a USEA Intercollegiate Team, but also not to discount a school that doesn't have a team.

"If there is a strong eventing program that is at a school that you are really interested in, by all means, take that into consideration when choosing your school, but don't let a school not having one keep you from going there," she said. "The fact that I can say I was one of the founding members of the team at Texas A&M is something I am so proud of. So if a random opportunity comes knocking at your door, like starting a team at your school, jump right in. That is the time in your life to take those chances."

She truly champions that spirit, having been a member member of the Intercollegiate Eventing Committee since 2017, as well as recently joining the Interscholastic Eventing League Task Force in 2021.

Looking back, the experiences that the USEA Intercollegiate Program has provided Boggan are now memories that she will carry on throughout her life and ones that have led her to where she is today.

“Honestly, I would say that being on the team and going through all that I did with the USEA really shaped what my career looks like now," she said. "This is going to sound super cheesy, but I had gone through a really terrible breakup around that time. Having the team to pour all of my energy and focus into really gave me my drive back and my passion to be a strong, independent female was, without a doubt, the highlight of my collegiate career. I made lifelong friends, and it opened a whole lot of doors for me. I am forever grateful for that.”

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.

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