May 24, 2019

Transylvania University Names Abby Blackburn Female Athlete of the Year

By Tanya Davis - Transylvania University
Abby Blackburn competing at the 2018 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

On Sunday, May 19 in Lexington, Kentucky, Transylvania University hosted their annual all-sport athletic banquet with one team missing. The eventing team was on their way home from the 2019 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship at Chattahoochee Hills Horse Trials in Fairburn, Georgia. Knowing that senior and team captain Abby Blackburn was a finalist for the school’s Female Athlete of the Year award, she and Transylvania’s eventing coach Tanya Davis anxiously watched a live stream of the banquet from the road.

“They announced that I had won, and we couldn’t believe it,” said Blackburn, “I was up against soccer players, basketball players, golfers, all the traditional school sports, and they chose an event rider. How cool is that?”

The Transylvania eventing program was formed in 2012 and Blackburn has been a member since the fall of 2015. In that time, the team has gone from four riders to 12.

“I completed my first recognized horse trial the summer before my freshman year,” Blackburn remembered. “It was something I always wanted so badly, but it just wasn’t realistic for me until I joined the school team. Suddenly, I was traveling all over the southeast competing at venues I’d never thought I’d make it to. It really has been a dream, and without the support of the school and Coach Davis I don’t think it ever could’ve happened.”

USEA/Kate Lokey Photo.

Blackburn had multiple wins at the Beginner Novice and Novice level last year and was named the 2018 USEA Novice Intercollegiate Rider of the Year.

“Our school is NCAA Division III, so the eventing program is the only chance we get to go up against the big D1 schools,” Blackburn reported, “I think that’s a great thing for the school, and knowing the other coaches respect our sport enough to vote me Athlete of the Year is such a big deal for the program. You just don’t see that at other Universities.”

Blackburn is sad to be graduating and leaving the team, but she is far from done with eventing. She plans to continue working in the horse industry after graduation and hopes to be a professional rider and trainer in the future.

Female Athlete of the Year is a huge honor to be given to anyone in any sport. However, as far as we know, this is the first time in history that a University has given this award to an event rider. For information about the Transylvania University eventing program, contact team coach Tanya Davis at [email protected].

Nov 12, 2019 Instructors

Announcing Dates and Details of the 2020 USEA Educational Symposium

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP), Young Event Horse (YEH) Program, and Future Event Horse (YEH) Program are joining forces yet again to bring the ultimate educational opportunity this winter. The 2020 USEA Educational Symposium will be at Barnstaple South in Ocala, Florida on February 17-20, 2020.

Nov 11, 2019 Volunteers

John Bandrofchak: USEA's Volunteer of the Month Presented by Athletux

It was only recently that John Bandrofchak became involved in the eventing community - seven years, in fact. It all began when he decided he wanted to begin working with animals. After finding his way to a local equine therapy farm, his passion for horses and volunteering grew.

Nov 10, 2019 Rules

Rule Refresher: Cross-Country Scoring

There are a number of ways to incur penalties on cross-country, from refusals and run-outs to exceeding the optimum time, and they sometimes vary depending on the level of competition. Make sure you're up to date with all the different ways to earn penalties on cross-country before you next step out of the startbox.

Nov 09, 2019 Convention

Ten Sessions You Won’t Want to Miss at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention

With the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention fast approaching, you’ll be anxiously planning which sessions you want to attend once you arrive at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. From educational talks, open forums, and even interactive sessions, there is something for everyone at the 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. Take a look at some of the sessions you won’t want to miss!

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Riding Helmet of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA