Western Team Tryouts
How do tryouts work?
We hold tryouts in the fall of the school year. Acceptance to the team often depends on what level of riders we need but also consider overall equitation, horsemanship and commitment to riding.
Can I join the team if I don’t have much riding experience?
Regardless of your riding ability or whether or not you have been to a horse show, riders are welcome to try out for the Equestrian Team. The IHSA has levels for all riders and we encourage riders with little to no horse experience to tryout. To win IHSA competitions, our riders must earn at all levels, from Walk-Trot to Open classes.
What is the time commitment of being on the team?
The time commitment to the team includes two one hour lessons a week along with an hour of tacking up and properly cooling down of the horses after lessons. Attending team meetings and one work-out a week are also required. We have a requirement of keeping a 2.5 grade point average to hold your spot on the team. Community service also plays a big part of our program and our riders are required to have community service hours. Many of our weekends are spent at horse shows and traveling depending on the dates and times of the events. Attendance is mandatory at all meets for all members of the team whether they are riding or not.
Do I have to own a horse?
No, actually the school provides the horses for the lessons.
What are the costs associated with being on the team?
There are no dues to be on the team. We are very fortunate that our school provides the money for the lessons, transportation to and from the horse shows, and the horse show fees. You are required to have your own show clothes to compete in and schooling clothes for the weekly lessons. You are also responsible for the transportation to and from the lessons. Many of the riders work out a car pool situation.
Where does the team ride?
The team currently rents space for our horses at River Oaks Farm. It is about 15 minutes from Campus. We will be there until we move to the new facility close to campus.
What can I do to build my riding skills to better my chances of making the team?
Learn the main fundamentals of riding to build a solid foundation in your riding. This will be very important as you ride different types of horses. Ride as many different horses as you can, so you can develop those skills to adapt to the different temperaments of the horses and learn to adjust well.
What is the structure of Intercollegiate horse shows?
All riders are placed in classes that correspond with their skill by their coach. They range from walk-trot to open, based on IHSA rules. The riders compete in their division and earn points for finishing first through sixth place. The coaches use their discretion at determining how often riders show and strategically plan when they want the riders to ‘point out’ of their divisions and also in determining their ’point’ rider to help the team earn points for the championship at the end of the show.
What is IHSA?
The IHSA promotes competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional, zone and national levels. The association was founded on the principal that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. The IHSA currently has over 420 teams with 10,000 athletes competing annually.
The IHSA honors the heritage of Equestrian as a co-ed sport (Equestrian is one of the only Olympic sports where men and women can compete on an even field). We have had talented male athletes on the equestrian team. Hunt seat events include jumping and flat classes, while western includes horsemanship and reining classes.