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.
US Equestrian is pleased to announce the dates and location for the 2022 USEF Young Rider Eventing Championship. This championship will take place at the Tryon International Three-Day Event November 10-13 in Mill Spring, N.C.
Sidnee Milner and My Valentine did not become partners out of sheer coincidence. The pony and rider combination that took home the 2021 SmartPak USEA Pony of the Year award were a product of the thoughtfulness and generosity of family friend and trainer Tawn Edwards. Milner was, at the time, a young and inexperienced child rider looking for a partner to teach her the ropes of eventing; My Valentine was a well-seasoned eventing pony who knew the job of advancing young riders well and was looking for her next partner. Over their three-year relationship, the duo have accumulated various ribbons and accolades together with 2021 being the most impressive of their seasons thus far.
Updated January 18, 2022: The 2023 Eventing Calendar webinar, originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. EST, has been postponed and will be rescheduled with an additional commmunication in the coming weeks.