The festivities for the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) National Championships have begun in Waco, Texas! Running from Wednesday, April 18th through Saturday, April the 21st, the NCEA National Championships brings together some of the best young riders in the industry to compete against one another in a team format. Reigning champions, Texas A&M, will be back to defend their title, but six-time champion, University of Georgia, is bound to bring their A-game to the competition at the Extraco Event Center.
The format for NCEA competitions is a true test of a rider’s abilities. Five riders from each team are pitted against one another in a head-to-head format. Competitors draw a horse at random from a pool of horses provided for the competition. Each rider has the ability to watch the horse warm up and ride the horse for four minutes prior to entering the show ring.
Then, the rider from the opposing team who is facing off the original rider follows the same procedure on the same horse for an even playing field. Each rider receives an individual score based on their performance on that horse and the highest scoring rider of the pair competing against one another receives a point for their team. In each competition, there are five points in total available for each team to win.”
The NCEA offers four different categories for students to compete in: equitation over fences, equitation on the flat, western horsemanship and reining. There are six NCEA National titles and one National Championship Team title up for grabs this year: the NCEA National Championship Team title, four NCEA Event National titles (equitation over fences, equitation on the flat, western horsemanship, and reining), and two National Championship Discipline titles (English and Western). The descriptions of each award from the NCEA’s website are as follows:
NCEA National Championship Team Title—The top 8 teams will be competing in the NCEA National Championship Team Title. Each team will compete head to head with 4 riders in each of the Events; Equitation Over Fences and Equitation on the Flat for the Hunt Seat events, and Reining and Horsemanship for the Western events. The team that receives the most points (16 possible points available for each matchup) will advance to the next day. The team competition begins on Thursday with the quarterfinals and the semifinals. The conclusion of the team events run on championship Saturday.
NCEA National Championship Event Titles—The top 16 teams will compete in separate brackets for each event; Equitation over Fences, Equitation on the Flat, Horsemanship and Reining starting on Wednesday, April 18th with the first round of action. Each event quarter finals and semi finals will take place on Friday, April 20th and the finals for each event will take place on Championship Saturday following the Team Overall National Championship.
NCEA National Championship Discipline Titles for Hunt Seat and Western: The combined points each team accrues in the NCEA Hunter Seat Discipline Competitions (Equitation over Fences and Equitation on the Flat), and the NCEA Western Discipline Competitions (Horsemanship and Reining) will determine the Overall Discipline titles.
See the point breakdown below to follow along as you root on your favorite school:
- Event Champion: 11 points
- Event Runner Up: 7 points
- Semi-Finalist: 4 points
- Quarter-Finalist: 2 points
You can find more details on the event and the different team seedings HERE.
Wednesday’s bracket has already been lined out below:
A full schedule of the week’s events including start times can be found HERE. Brackets will be filled in throughout the week depending on results.
Live streaming of the entire event is being offered through EqSportsNet. Jumper Nation will be sharing recaps of each day’s competition to keep you up to date with how your favorite college is fairing this week.