Monday, November 17, 2014

My alma mater axes equestrian




However, I'm still saddened and a little surprised to see UTM cutting the team so quickly- it's been less than a decade since the sport was added to the school's roster. I'm especially disappointed because UTM has a lot of offer prospective equestrian athletes in the way of scholarships, experience, and education.

My main objection to the more-popular IHSA team is its format: you're competing against every other rider, all mounted on different horses, all at the same time. While that's how it goes at a regular show, at a typical show you're riding your horse- not a horse you met five minutes ago. In an IHSA competition, if the judge happens to glance your way while you're trying to get old Thunder to stop careening around on the wrong lead, that's it. You're out of the ribbons.

In an NCEA competition, you and your opponent ride the same equitation test on the same horse- so if old Thunder consistently blows his left lead, at least he's doing it to everyone, not just you.

My experience with NCEA wasn't all sunshine and roses, but I won't deny it was valuable. I'm very disappointed UTM is jumping ship; I was glad to hear that scholarships will be honored through the athletes' tenure at Martin. I hope the coaching staff (and horses!) are able to find employment after next season, and I certainly hope UTM will consider return to an IHSA team so that collegiate equestrians continue to have an outlet for their passion!

4 comments:

L.Williams said...

ehh not true, I rode IHSA for several years and you can still ribbon careening around on the wrong lead because you look fabulous doing so. I've ribboned top 3 several times on horses that REFUSED to canter. Over girls who did canter but probably didn't have the best equitation. I was still interested in the NCAA format and would love to have just tried it once for a good compare and contrast.

Stephanie said...

You must have excellent equitation!! Having done both, I much preferred NCAA, but that's probably because I felt much better about my chances against ONE rider instead of a dozen.

emma said...

i know pretty much nothing about the NCAA format, but did the IHSA with some success in college. so i can't really compare the formats, but am sad a team would be eliminated either way...

Austen Gage said...

How sad to lose a team! My college axed my majors right after I graduated, and I felt pretty betrayed. I'm sure this feels pretty similar for you! It is interesting to me, having competed IHSA in college, to hear how NCAA format runs. I never realized you compete on the same horse! That changes things!

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