September 23, 2008

Brown Equestrian Looking for Riders with Show Experience

Sept. 23, 2008

Providence, R.I. - The Brown University equestrian team, coming off a season in which they won the Ivy Championship and finished fifth at the IHSA Nationals, will be holding tryouts for walk-ons soon. Interested students with show experience are asked to fill out the Athletic Health Questionnaire on the Brown.edu A-Z directory, and e-mail the captains at Brownequestrian@gmail.com.

The Brown equestrian team is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), which consists of approximately 253 college teams and over 5,000 riders. Brown competes in the riding discipline of hunt seat equitation for Zone 1, Region 1, with 10 other colleges: University of Connecticut, Post University, Salve Regina, University of Rhode Island, Wesleyan, Rhode Island College, Trinity College, Johnson and Wales, Central Connecticut State University, and Roger Williams University.

The team has riders ranging in experience levels from beginner walk-trot equitation up through open equitation on the flat and over fences. Riders can advance to the next level by accumulating points for each ribbon awarded to them at horse shows. Once a rider has reached 35 points in their division, they advance to the next level and qualify for the Regional competition at the end of the season, which serves as a qualifier for Zones and the National Championships.

Each show season runs through both academic semesters, fall and spring, and the team travels to about 10 "regular season" shows plus the All-Ivy competition and up to three levels of ISHA postseason competition. At the horse shows, competitors ride the hosting school's horses, not their own, and no one is allowed to use their own saddle.

Before the show begins, a horse draw is done by a lottery system to see which horse is paired up with which rider. Anyone showing is not allowed to school/warm-up on the horse they are competing on. When a class is ready to begin, each rider mounts their horse, adjusts their stirrups and rides before the judge. The riders are judged on their equitation, which means the correct riding position as well as how the riders control an unfamiliar horse.

Also at the horse shows, each coach selects point riders for their team. There is one point rider for each class level and if the point rider receives a ribbon that day, the points earned are counted towards the team score as well as for their individual points. Once a horse show is over, each team's points are totaled to see who achieved high point and reserve high point team of the day. At the end of each season, points from all the horse shows are added for the high point teams of the season.

Alumni classes are only divided into two classes, on the flat, or over fences. There is no differentiation made by the division that a rider was in when they graduated. The IHSA requirements to ride as an alumni rider are that the rider must have ridden as an undergraduate for their school in the IHSA, and their skill level must be equivalent to at least the Beginner W-T-C division for the flat and equivalent to the Novice Fences level for jumping. Although alumni riders' points do not count towards team points at any particular show, they do, however, accumulate points towards qualifying for the Regional, Zone and National Championships.