SMU Equestrian Adds Western Team
Jan. 11, 2013
DALLAS (SMU) - After establishing itself as a national contender with its English-only team, SMU Equestrian will make a jump in 2013-14 when the program will add a Western team.
SMU has sponsored equestrian since 2004 and has shown steady improvement over the last eight years, rating as the No. 5 seed in the 2012 National Collegiate Equestrian Championship. Though SMU has been eligible for an English championship, without a Western team, SMU was not able to compete for the overall NCEA title. This will change next fall, though, when the Mustangs add the new discipline.
Head coach Haley Schoolfield said, "SMU is excited to be adding a Western team for fall 2013. We are actively recruiting horsemanship and reining riders, horses, and tack and look forward to an exciting future."
The Western discipline is comprised of horsemanship and reining. In Horsemanship, a rider is judged on her ability to control the horse while maintaining the correct riding position on a predetermined pattern that consists of 7-9 maneuvers plus a collective mark. The ideal Horsemanship Pattern is extremely precise with the rider and horse working in complete unison, executing each maneuver with subtle aids and cues while exhibiting poise and confidence, and maintaining a balanced, functional and fundamentally correct body position. Reining is designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch-type horse in the confines of a show arena. Contestants are required to run one of ten approved patterns, divided into seven or eight maneuvers, including small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, 360 degree spins done in place, and the exciting sliding stops that are the hall mark of the reining horse.
English riding involves many disciplines including Equitation on the Flat and Equitation over Fences. A hunter seat rider is judged on her ability to control the horse while maintaining the correct riding position. A rider is judged on her body position, use of aids, precision and accuracy of maneuvers, ability to work in harmony with the horse, leg strength and style. A rider will perform a pattern which consists of nine maneuvers within a rectangular-shaped, lettered arena. In hunter seat equitation over fences, a rider jumps a predetermined course, consisting of eight to ten jumps at a height of 3'-3'6". Judges are looking at the rider's position and effectiveness while maintaining consistency of pace and accuracy.
SMU's English team will begin its 2013 Spring season on Feb. 8 at the WEF Invitational in Wellington, Fla.