Equestrian FAQ


1.  Is Equestrian a varsity or club sport at Sewanee?

In 1996, Equestrian became a varsity sport.  The Equestrian Team is not involved in NCAA competition.  Sewanee is a member college of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and competes in regular season competition in Zone 5, Region 1.  The Equestrian Team supports its members by covering transportation, entry fees, hotel and a per diem for food while at IHSA horse shows. 

2.  What discipline does the Equestrian Team compete in?

Sewanee’s Equestrian Team competes in the hunter seat competitions within the IHSA.  All IHSA hunter seat competitions are judged on equitation. 

3.  How do I join the Equestrian Team?

In the fall of each academic year tryouts are held.  The tryouts consist of a mounted ride on a horse that is drawn for.  All riders are required to tryout each year regardless if they have been on the team in the past. 

4.  What if I have never competed in a horse show before?

Regardless of your riding ability, past riding experience or whether or not you have been in 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 show experience to join.

5.  Is it difficult to manage the Equestrian Team and academics?

This all depends on the individual.  While the team competes throughout the entire school year, history has proven that the overwhelming majority of team members have been able to show successfully while maintaining very good grades and participating in other activities on campus.

6.  Who does Sewanee compete against?

During the IHSA regular season Sewanee competes against:  Hiwassee College (TN); Maryville College (TN); the University of Tennessee (TN); the University of Tennessee-Martin (TN); Tennessee Tech University (TN); Middle Tennessee State University (TN); Vanderbilt University (TN); Rhodes College (TN); Mississippi College (MS); Mississippi State University (MS); Murray State University (KY) and Western Kentucky University (KY).

7.  How much riding a week does each team member have?

Each team member is required to participate in the Equestrian Program’s Physical Education lesson which meets other once a week for two hours or twice a week for one hour each time.  An additional team practice is scheduled for riders going to IHSA competitions. 

8.  How do I know which IHSA division I will compete in?

The IHSA has a comprehensive placement form that all new IHSA members must fill out prior to their first IHSA competition.  This form asks questions about the individual’s past riding and horse show experience.

9.  How do riders qualify for postseason IHSA horse shows?

Each time a rider competes, he or she receives points for each ribbon won.  Once the rider has accumulated the required amount of points for his or her division, he or she is qualified for that year’s Regional Championship Horse Show.  If the rider places first, second or third at Regionals, he or she qualifies to compete as an individual for the Zone 5 Finals Horse Show.  First or second place at Zones qualifies the rider for that year’s IHSA National Horse Show.  In the event that the team qualifies for postseason competition, the Head Coach chooses a rider as a representative of the Equestrian Team for each division.

10.  Will I compete at every horse show?

The regular season IHSA horse shows within our region are continuing to limit the number of riders each school can have.  It is difficult to predict if a rider will compete at every horse show each season.  A rider’s competitiveness within his or her division is the number one factor used for whether he or she will compete.  In addition, a rider’s ability to complete the tasks required of him or her for the Equestrian Team are also taken into consideration.

11.  Are there any other responsibilities for team members besides competing?

Each team member is required to be an active participant in all events hosted by the Equestrian Team, which includes, but is not limited to, Tiger Cubs; IHSA Horse Shows; Sewanee Invitational Horse Shows; the annual Silent Auction fundraiser and community service projects.  Each team member is required to care for a school horse for home IHSA horse shows regardless if he or she is competing in that show. 

12.  How competitive is the Sewanee Equestrian Team?

Since becoming a varsity sport in 1996, Sewanee’s Equestrian Team has continued the winning tradition that the previous club team had begun.  In the past ten years, Sewanee has had six top-ten national team finishes and 35 top-ten national individual riders including one national champion and five national reserve champions.  Sewanee’s teams have won ten Regional Champion titles (nine in hunter seat and one in western) and won one Zone 5 title and six Zone 5 reserve team championships.