Eventing at NC State was founded in 2016 with the intent of becoming a competitive collegiate team and is currently the only intercollegiate eventing team in North Carolina. Our main goal is to aid students in obtaining a higher level of education while continuing to event as part of a team. Currently our team has 15 active undergraduate members as well as five alumni members competing in levels Maiden through Training. Our riders come from all different backgrounds; some were raised in eventing barns, others rode western or hunter, and a few just started eventing when they joined the team.
Ruth Huggins and her mount Top Gun showing off team bonnets by Imperial Fly Bonnets.
In the past two years, the team has experienced great success in the show ring. In 2017, several of our members competed at the USEA American Eventing Championship (AEC). Our 2017-2018 President, Liza Bunce, and Marketing Officer, Sierra Simmerman, both finished third in their respective divisions. Liza also earned fourth place in the 2017 USEA Novice Intercollegiate Rider Division and Sierra earned USEA Beginner Novice Intercollegiate Rider of the Year. Additionally, our team finished 12th out of 20 at the 2017 USEA Intercollegiate Championship.
President Liza Bunce and Chance. Brant Gamma Photo.
Like many other eventing teams, our riders board or lease horses at various barns in the area. However, we are very fortunate to have Portofino Equestrian Center in Clayton, N.C. as a home base for team clinics and lessons with trainer Aaron Stuckey Hill. In addition, the team hosted a clinic with Jimmie Schramm in the fall of 2017 and has plans for a spring 2018 clinic with her. Aside from training with our horses, the team strives to host team activities and suppers, as well as group workouts to cultivate team bonding.
Marketing Officer Sierra Simmerman finished 3rd with her horse Indian Summer Sage in the Beginner Novice division at the 2017 USEA AEC.
For this current semester, the team has plans to attend FENCE Horse Trials in April for their Intercollegiate Challenge as well as the Virginia Horse Trials in May for the USEA Intercollegiate Championship. We plan on sending at least one full team, as well as some alumni, to both of these events with the intentions to be even more competitive than last year!
Eventing at NC State team members at the FENCE Intercollegiate Challenge.
To send our members to these intercollegiate events, the team works very hard throughout the year to fundraise in various ways. We have hosted benefit nights with local restaurants, held fundraisers through Yankee Candle, and collected tack donations for a large tack exchange in our area. Without these fundraisers, many team members would not be able to participate in clinics and events, so this is a high priority for the team. Our team is very fortunate to have several sponsors including the United Therapeutics Corporation. Their generosity has allowed us to grow tremendously as a competitive team, along with the generosity of Deco Pony, Imperial Fly Bonnets, Kastel Denmark, and M&M Tack Shop. Eventing at NC State is looking forward to continuing to develop our program and we are excited to see the intercollegiate program as a whole grow as well!
Emily Dressler and Annie schooling cross-country at a team clinic with Aaron Stuckey Hill at Portofino Equestrian Center. Liza Bunce Photo.
All photos courtesy of Eventing at NC State.
About the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program
The USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was established in 2014 to provide a framework within which eventing teams and individual competitors could flourish at universities and colleges across the country. The USEA offers a discount of $25 on annual USEA memberships for current students of universities and colleges registered as Affiliates with the USEA and many events across the country now offer Intercollegiate Team Challenges throughout the year, where collegiate eventers can compete individually as well as on teams with their fellow students.
In Intercollegiate Team Challenges, each rider’s score is multiplied by a coefficient appropriate for their level to account for differences in level difficulty and then the individual scores are added together to determine the team score. Only the best three individual scores will count towards the team score, so teams of four will have one “drop” score. Click here to learn more about the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program.
The USEA wants to feature your collegiate eventing team in our Intercollegiate Eventing Spotlight series! Please send your story and photos to Jessica Duffy to be featured.