The Hunt Seat Equestrian Club at NC State is a student run club comprised of full-time, undergraduate students at NC State, allowing them to compete and participate in equestrian activities during school through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. We also welcome those who do not make the team; we would love for you to join our club and improve your knowledge of horses from the ground up!
The riders on our team take weekly, group riding lessons at MacNair's Country Acres in Raleigh. Our coach, Kara Wilcox, rode in the IHSA for four years, and we are so excited to have her! Along with our weekly lessons, we attend 7-8 IHSA shows per year. Additionally, we hold multiple fundraising events throughout the year to keep the costs of our sport down. Volunteering is an important part of being a member on our team, too.
We have a meeting every month to let all our members know about upcoming horse events and volunteer opportunities. We hold socials, attend demonstrations, and volunteer as a group. Come to one of our meetings in Talley Student Union (room 3210) to learn more!
According to the official IHSA website:
“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 principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. Emphasis is on learning, sportsmanship, and fun. Competition plays a role but the students’ enthusiasm and team spirit are the major factors. The objective of IHSA competition is to offer the opportunity to riders in their first years of riding as well as to students with show experience. Eliminating the expense of shipping or even owning horses puts IHSA competitions within reach of many who would otherwise miss the equestrian experience.”
Tryouts are held at the beginning of the fall semester. Please email the club if you are interested and keep an eye out for a date of an information meeting, which will be available on the home page. Students are placed into appropriate divisions based on their previous experience with riding and showing. The jumping divisions include Open, Intermediate, and Novice. The flatting divisions include those along with Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter, Beginner Walk-Trot-Canter, and Walk-Trot.
We take weekly lessons out at Buckhorn Farm in Apex, about twenty five minutes from campus. If you don't have a car, members on the team can carpool to the lessons. Lessons are scheduled so that people of similar divisions can ride together, but class schedules do come first.
NC State is part of Zone 4, Region 3 in our country. Different schools in our region host shows and we have around 8 shows a year. The host school provides the horses for the show, which are schooled at the beginning of the show so participants can watch and the horses are warmed up. This is important because the competing riders are not allowed to school or warm up on the horse they will be competing on at all. Riders draw a horse at random and mount that horse right before their class starts to keep the competition fair. This tests the riders on their ability to take a horse they have no experience riding and maintain proper riding technique of them and their horse.
To move up a division, you have to point out. This means that riders are required to earn 35 points (or 28 if they are an open rider) in order to move up into the next division. Points are accumulated by placing in the classes. A first place ribbon is worth 7 points, a second place ribbon is 5 points, a third place ribbon is 4 point, and so on. If you earn enough points to point out of your division, you qualify for regionals. The top two riders at Regionals qualify for Zone Finals and the top two riders there qualify for the National IHSA Competition at the end of the year.