Located in the heart of downtown Lexington, Kentucky is Transylvania University, a small liberal arts school that has an eventing team unlike any other. The support behind the eventing team comes from the University itself as it offers an ‘eventing scholarship’. This is the only known eventing scholarship offered at any university/college in the United States. Tanya Davis, the team head coach, explained, “We give scholarships of $1,000 per year to the early applicants that want to ride on our team. This scholarship has been in place for five years now. The riders are able to use the money for anything they need.”
Transylvania University, fondly known as ‘Transy’ was founded in 1780, making it one of the oldest universities in the country. The eventing team was founded many years later in 2012 as a varsity sport, and three years later, in 2015, the eventing scholarship was first offered. As the team grew and evolved, it was broken into two separate teams. Davis said, “We have a Varsity team and a Junior Varsity team. Our Varsity riders are the ones competing at USEA competitions and our Junior Varsity is everyone else. Some strive to be eventing riders, some are riding for the love of the horse and not competition.”
Six current Varsity team members have benefitted from this scholarship including the three Freshman students: Liz Howell, Katrina Kottra, and Aubrey Earley; Sophomore student Jackie Wich; Junior student Maddie Cease; and Senior student Nathalie Ouellett.
All six of these students are from out of state and the furthest away from home is Wich, who traveled from her hometown of Frenchtown, Montana to ride on the Transylvania University Eventing Team. Wich shared, “Transy’s Varsity eventing team was the reason I decided to pack up my life in Montana and move across the country to Lexington, Kentucky. Transylvania University, a private liberal arts school in the heart of Lexington, is not only known for its academic excellence but for being one of the only universities in the United States to offer three-day eventing as both a Varsity and Junior Varsity sport. Transy prides itself in offering opportunities for all levels of experience for riders.”
“The application process is quite simple,” described Wich of the scholarship. “In order to qualify for the scholarship, you must have completed two USEA recognized events at any level. Within those who events, you must score under a 45 in dressage, [jump] clear on cross-country, and [have] no more than two rails in show jumping.” Wich qualified for the scholarship when she finished on her dressage score to place second in the Open Novice at Equestrians Institute in 2018 with her longtime partner, Master Miller, a 10-year-old Irish Draught Sport Horse gelding. A couple of weeks later, the pair won the Area VII Novice Championships at the Aspen Farms Horse Trials.
While attending Transylvania University, Wich and Master Miller have found similar success. The pair successfully moved up to the Training level in 2019 and their last completion they finished second in the Senior Training Rider division at the Champagne Run Horse Trials in July 2020. “Transy has allowed me to pursue a higher education while allowing me to continue the sport I love,” said Wich.
Wich continued, “I have been riding and competing event horses for the past 14 years. From a young age, I always knew I wanted to continue my passion for horses and competing. As most riders know, trying to balance school, finances, and taking care of a horse can be challenging. With the help of Transy, I can happily say I have been able to successfully balance all aspects of my life. I believe this is largely due to the measures the university takes to ensure the students succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Not only does Transy offer eventing as a Varsity and Junior Varsity sport, but they also give out yearly scholarships to eligible riders to wear their crimson colors and ride on the team.”
For more information about the Transylvania University eventing program, contact team representative and head coach Tanya Davis at [email protected].
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.
Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday.
Most couples share a kiss and part ways at 8:00 a.m. as they head off to their own work days, but eventing power couple James and Helen Alliston do it all together. We gave our USEA members the opportunity to submit their questions for this West Coast-based couple, and USEA Podcast host Nicole Brown gets them to share all on many topics: eventing in the U.S. versus the U.K., who is the most competitive of the two, dealing with warmer temperatures, why James likes to drive illegally slow, and so much more!
The Plantation Field International CCI4*-S concluded today with the cross-country phase, and the final standings were nearly a matter of “last one standing.” As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought a torrential downpour to the area, a number of riders decided to opt out: of 39 competitors, only six completed, and 17 withdrew before the start of cross-country.
After 15 years of successfully cultivating and establishing the Future Event Horse (FEH) program for eventing breeders and owners, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) has merged the FEH program with the Young Horse Show Series (YHS). The updated YHS allows for a more comprehensive show series for sport horses in the U.S., as the YHS is now open to young talent with a future in eventing, as well as hunters, jumpers, and dressage.