Mill Spring, N.C.—May 26—Twenty-three teams from 13 colleges and universities have traveled far and wide for the seventh annual USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
Students have prepared all year for this event. Bragging rights and the coveted Spirit Award are on the line, but possibly the most cutthroat competition of the weekend was the Bouncy Pony Relay Race Championship, held Friday night during the Opening Ceremonies.
Partnered with a field of eight inflatable steeds, competitors had their game faces on. Auburn University and Transylvania University emerged as winners of the first two heats and went head-to-head in the final, no holds barred relay. The Tigers and the Bats were evenly matched, staying side-by-side until the final lap of the last race, which saw the small but mighty representation of Transylvania University as the Bouncy Pony Relay Race 2023 Champions.
Meanwhile on actual, live horses, Auburn University has the most wins (three: 2018, 2019, and 2022) in the history of the USEA Intercollegiate Championship, and they’re eyeing a fourth as the leaders at the completion of dressage. Their four-member Auburn University Tigers team has a five-point head start going into day two on a team score of 75.848.
Auburn University Tigers team member Katarina Midgley posted the lowest coefficient-weighted dressage score out of all 87 entries, a 22.69 with her own 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood Don Mac in the Open Preliminary division.
Midgley and her teammate Grace Montgomery, who has a score of 33.56 with her own Fernhill Wonder, distinctly remember the taste of victory as they were both on the top of the podium at the 2022 Intercollegiate Eventing Championship for Auburn. They’re joined this year by Lara Roberts, who also leads the Open Training division with her own Fernhill Show Biz, and Suzanne Hillhouse, who is partnered with Grace Tortorice’s Kalisto Pete.
The University of South Carolina - Aiken is hot on the Tiger’s heels, sitting second after the first day of competition. Their team score of 81.304 was produced by the combination of Alexa Duncan, Sydney Shinn, Heidi Gyselinck, and Carson Langenberg. If they can overtake the leaders, this would be a first-ever Championship win for the Pacers.
Clemson University is also in the running. They are in bronze medal position thanks to the efforts of Kaley Crosby, Avery Spagnolo, Audra Alland, and Rianna Jefferson who sit on a score of 91.158.
All riders will leave the start box tomorrow for the cross-country phase of competition, which will see the first rider at 9:00 a.m.
The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program is not just a competition experience, but a community of student athletes who foster a safe and supportive space to pursue their riding goals while navigating the pressures of college. The true spirit of the Intercollegiate program and its championship is due to the energy and dedication of the students and their devotion to the sport and to one another.
Our graduating seniors have spent the last four years responsible for their studies, their horses, and their team, and to honor that, they were celebrated during Friday night's Opening Ceremonies. Congratulations to the class of 2023:
To account for differences in level difficulty, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level, and 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 is applied at the Championship is as follows:
Beginner Novice: 1
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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 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. Click here to learn more about the Intercollegiate Eventing Program.
The USEA would like to thank Bates Saddles, Kerrits, Horse & Country, U.S. Equestrian, WeRideTogether, and World Equestrian Brands for sponsoring the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.