The University of Connecticut offers multiple options for students interested in participating on competitive riding teams. Options include the Dressage Team, Equestrian Team (hunt seat), Polo Teams (men and womens), and Western Team. Other non-competitive riding options include the UConn Morgan Drill Team, Horse Riding Practicum, and Indepdent Study opportunities through advisors in the Department of Animal Science. Students interested in riding on the teams are selected through tryouts as well as through demonstrated riding ability in the Horse Riding Practicum depending on the team. During the Practicum, coaches evaluate riders on their skills, hard work and effort they exhibit in lessons. Students are allowed to ride on multiple competitive teams depending on competition schedule overlaps.
The Dressage Team consists of approximately fifteen riders who are selected through a combination of tryouts and the Horse Riding 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. The team sent one rider to nationals in 2017 and she placed 3rd in her division and also sent five riders to Nationals in 2019.
Want to learn more? Visit their team sites below or contact the coach, Melissa Tindall, at Melissa.Tindall@UConn.edu.
UConn Dressage Team at Nationals 2019 (left) and fall 2018 (right)
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.
Team members are selected through the Horse Practicum and tryouts held at the beginning of the fall semester. Team members are selected by level of ability (many of our Walk-Trot riders began right here in our program). Good position (equitation) 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.
Students on the UConn Equestrian Team compete on the team at Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) shows in hunt seat classes including Walk-Trot, Walk-Trot-Canter, Novice, Intermediate or Open divisions. 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. We host 2 shows a year at UConn's facility.
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 shows. 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. 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 grooming of that horse throughout the semester. There are team dinners once a month. We also hold meetings for various team business.
On a normal show day, the team 6:30 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. and remains at the show all day until 4:30 - 5:00 p.m to support all team members. Many parents have set up great lunches for the whole team!
UConn's Equestiran Team is very competitive, usually ending up Champion or Reserve Champion Team every year in our region. They 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. They have students placing at Nationals almost every year and sent a rider in 2019. In 2010, 2012, and 2015, 2016 the team was the Region I Champion High Point College. In 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2018 the team won Reserve Champion High Point College in Region I. The UConn Equestrian Team is also invited to compete at the Tournament of Champions in various parts of the country every year.
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.
Want to learn more? Visit their team sites below or contact the coach, Alena Meacham, at Alena.Meacham@UConn.edu.
UConn Equstrian Team fall 2019 (left) and at the Tournament of Champions spring 2020 (right)
Samantha Calzone (left and right) and UC Sam Calzone (chestnut filly center)
UConn supports both a men and women's polo team who compete in Intercollegiate Polo through the United States Polo Association. The teams have won ten national championships and are competive both regionally and nationally. Varsity games include intercollegiate games against the 25 other intercollegiate programs such as Yale, University of Virginia, Cornell and Skidmore. The teams also compete against various other polo clubs. During the spring semester the teams compete in Eastern Regionals for a chance to qualify for Nationals.
Want to learn more? Visit their team sites below or contact the coach, Anders Carlton, at email@example.com.
UConn Women's Polo Team 2019 (left) and a team scrimmage fall 2018 (right)