The UMass Western Equestrian team was formed in 2008 for the purpose of giving collegiate students with an interest in western horseback riding a chance to compete.
We were recently named Reserve Champions for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Associations' Western Zone One. All skill levels are encouraged to join our team and are given the opportunity to learn under a decorated American Quarter Horse Association professional in Michele Carver at her facility in Broad Brook, CT.
Many students join our team with little to no riding experience and they graduate with a large amount of hands-on knowledge about horseback riding and care. The UMass Western Equestrian Team competes in about a dozen shows throughout the academic year against schools such as Sacred Heart University, the University of Connecticut, Mount Holyoke College, and Central Connecticut State University, among others.
At each horse show, riders compete individually, in different categories based on experience, on a horse that is selected through a random draw. This process has been designed to level the playing field and give each competitor an equal chance to succeed. Riders are then judged on their ability to quickly adapt to an unfamiliar horse, and riding position, They can also be asked to perform a specific set of maneuvers, called a pattern, which demonstrates a certain degree of difficulty. Together, the pattern and riders position make up what is called a horsemanship class. Please see the video link on our page for an example of this class at IHSA Nationals. Riders and teams both earn points in the hopes of qualifying for the postseason and moving up to the next division. About half of our team made it to Regional competition this year and one member advanced to Semi-Finals.
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