Dec 24, 2018

Where Are They Now: University of Kentucky’s 2018 Spirit Squad

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
UK showing their school spirit! USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

“We’re a big school with a lot of personality, and we were able to show off that SEC team spirit,” said University of Kentucky collegiate rider Jackie LeMastus. Since 2016, the USEA Intercollegiate Program has run an Intercollegiate Championship at the Virginia Horse Trials in May where schools near and far compete for the championship title. Another award at the Intercollegiate Championship is the coveted "spirit award" where the winning team is rewarded with entry fee refunds.

The spirit award was first given to the University of Georgia in 2016; in 2017 it was awarded to Texas A&M; and in 2018, University of Kentucky took home the top spot for spirit. Although matching saddle pads, team mascots, banners, flags, face paint, and school chants help to earn the spirit award, it was the support of fellow team members and great sportsmanship that sealed the deal for University of Kentucky’s win. Seven months later and University of Kentucky’s eventing team is still going strong in spirit, and they plan to “rep the CATS just like last year,” said Elizabeth Silvia-Chandley.

LeMastus accepting her awards for Preliminary Young Adult Rider and Preliminary Intercollegiate Rider of the Year at the 2018 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. Redbaystock.com Photo.

“I’ve been to Young Riders twice, but the Intercollegiate Championship has been the most fun I’ve had at an event. It was incredible,” said LeMastus. LeMastus on Indian Mill, Silvia-Chandley on Lillith, Shannon McCall on TC Drummer Boy, and Mia Fox on Sport Tracker made up University of Kentucky’s championship team.

“We went all out for the spirit award, and it paid off in the end. Getting my FEI entry fee back was amazing,” shared LeMastus, as she finished third in the CCI* with her championship horse, Indian Mill. Since the Intercollegiate Championship, LeMastus has kept busy as she was named the 2018 USEA Preliminary Young Adult Rider of the Year, won the Hagyard Midsouth CCI*, earned top placings with both Indian Mill and Exmoor Denver at the Intermediate level, and has a string of three horses ready to tackle the 2019 season. “I’m excited to keep representing UK Eventing while campaigning the three boys. I will definitely be back to compete at the Intercollegiate Championship next year, and I’m really looking forward to [having it] at Chattahoochee Hills!”

Chandley and her horse Lillith with teammate Mia Fox, posing for a picture. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Nominated by her teammates as "most likely to be Coach Cal," Silvia-Chandley has stayed busy since the championship with balancing school, riding a new horse, and staying involved in a number of organizations on UK campus. “I have recently gotten a new horse, Kontiki [a 5-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare]. Tiki and I spent the semester showing at Chattahoochee Hills H.T. in October and Poplar Place H.T. in November. The UK Eventing Team has had a busy semester with around 50 students. [We] are planning on bringing a big group of riders [to the 2019 Intercollegiate Championship],” she said.

Silvia-Chandley’s championship horse, Lillith, an 11-year-old Warmblood mare, found a new purpose in life since the championship. “Lillith was sold in August. She is loving her life teaching a 9-year-old how to event. This is really what Lillith is meant to do,” said Silvia-Chandley. With a dual degree in Political Science and Community and Leadership Development, Silvia-Chandley has plans after graduation of working on Capitol Hill writing education policy while still staying active in eventing.

McCall and "Bam Bam" having fun in the college town at the 2018 USEA Intercollegiate Championship. USEA/Claire Kelley Photo.

"Most likely to be the playmaker," Shannon McCall and her championship mount TC Drummer Boy aka "Bam Bam" have added a win and a second-place finish to their record since the 2018 Intercollegiate Championship. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native went home for the summer to compete Bam Bam at Plantation Field H.T. and MDHT. Returning to Kentucky in August, McCall shared, "It has been a really fun summer and fall for all of us!”

Bam Bam, an 11-year old Thoroughbred gelding, “has been doing really well,” said McCall. “Bam Bam and I plan to compete at the Championship next year and it will be really nice since we got to run around Chatt this past fall. I love that facility and I can't wait to compete there again.”

“I am super excited to see what this upcoming season has in store for me, Bam Bam, and the UK Eventing Team. Go Cats!” McCall emphasized.

Mia Fox and Sport Tracker on the Preliminary cross-country course at the Championship. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

"Most likely to dance on court" was University of Kentucky’s Mia Fox, who rounded out the UK championship team. A Lexington, Kentucky native, Fox has a background in hunters and a nine-year partnership with her championship mount, Sport Tracker, aka "Trac". Fox and Trac won the Training Rider division at the 2017 Intercollegiate Championship and at the 2018 Intercollegiate Championship, they made their Preliminary debut to finish just outside the top 10 in the JYOP division. Fox and her long-time partner, Trac, a 14-year old Thoroughbred gelding, have continued to compete at the Preliminary level since the championship.

Make sure to watch out for the Cats at the 2019 Intercollegiate Championship, which will be held at Chattahoochee Hills in Fairburn, Georgia on May 18-19!

All smiles from the UK championship team! USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

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 and many events across the country now offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges throughout the year, 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. Click here to learn more about the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.

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