Becoming a member of the UConn Equestrian team is an honor and an achievement. Many friends are made and riders learn the lessons of good sportsmanship and commitment.
Instead of selecting team members from just one tryout session, potential team members are selected through the Horse Practicum. During the Practicum, the Equestrian Team Coach evaluates riders on their skills, hard work and effort they exhibit in class. They are also selected by level of ability (many of our Walk-Trot riders began right here in our program). Good position is a must, show experience is definitely a plus, but not necessary and you don't need to have your own horse to be on the team.
The Horse Practicum is a self-improvement non-credit horse riding program. Students pay a fee for riding in one lesson per week. Students can ride twice or even three times a week for an additional fee (fees may increase annually). Many team members ride two to three times a week.
Note: Students from other UConn branches can join the Equestrian Team, as well as participate in the Practicum. Non-UConn students cannot participate in either.
Students are chosen through the Horse Practicum and tryouts for the Intercollegiate competition to ride at the Walk-Trot, Walk-Trot-Canter, Novice, Intermediate or Open. Alumni on the Flat/Fences level is open to alumni that have ridden in IHSA shows as an undergraduate in Novice level or above. The levels Over Fences are Novice, Intermediate or Open. The show competition is for all skill levels who compete individually and with the team. We have approximately 10 shows a year and riders have to accumulate 35 points. Once riders acquire the points, they will go on to Regionals. Our region currently consists of 10 schools in the Connecticut and Rhode Island area. At the Regionals, the top 2 riders go to Zones and from the Zones the top 2 riders from each level will go on to Nationals.
The objective of the intercollegiate competition is to offer the opportunity for competition to riders in their first years of riding as well as to students with show experience. All riders are mounted on horses by the host college --each horse being drawn by lot. Here at UConn, each student will ride a different horse in the lessons so they are prepared for the challenges of the show ring. We host 2 shows a year at UConn's facility.
Being a team member is a weighty commitment, and that means you must make up all your lessons--make-ups are available and are encouraged especially right before a horse show. Team members are also encouraged to help each other to improve their skills. Team members will each be assigned a school horse at the beginning of the semester and they will be responsible for the care and grooming etc. of that horse. There are approximately 25 members on the UConn Equestrian Team. There are 2 co-captains who also help out at every show. Transportation is provided to the show. It is desirable that you have proper britches, dark blue or dark colored coat and clean shirt. Dress is very important for a good presentation at the horse shows. Hard hats must have a chin strap (must be ASTM approved) and black boots should be worn. Clothes can be borrowed from team members if needed. There are team dinners once a month. We also hold meetings for various team business.
On a normal show day we leave at 6:30 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. and, in order to support everyone on the team, we remain there all day until 4:30 - 5:00 p.m. Many parents have set up great lunches for the whole team! Our lesson program consists of 25-30 horses, mostly Morgans but also Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and Warmblood crosses. We had a National Champion in Open Equitation Over Fences in '88 and '89 and National and Reserve Champions in Alumni Over Fences in 1996 and 2003. We have students placing at Nationals almost every year. In 2010, 2012, and 2015 the team was the Region I Champion High Point College. In 2011, 2013, and 2014, the team won Reserve Champion High Point College in Region I.
The UConn Equestrian Team is invited to compete at the Tournament of Champions in various parts of the country every year. Also, you will find UConn's Team very competitive, usually ending up Champion or Reserve Champion Team every year.
For further information, please email Alena Meacham at Alena.Meacham@UConn.edu.
NOTE: The UConn Equestrian Team is not a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sanctioned team, however, it is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and competes within their rules and regulations.
UConn Equestrian Team Members at 2017 Zones
The Dressage Team consists of approximately fifteen riders who are selected through tryouts and the Horse Practicum. The team members compete in Intro through 1st level within the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA). They compete in eight shows per year plus Regionals and Nationals. The team won the Region B division in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and advanced to Nationals as a team in 2016, placing 8th in the nation.
UConn Dressage Team at Regionals Spring 2017