NCEA National Championship
With Conference Championships over among teams of the NCEA (National Collegiate Equestrian Association), we look toward the National Championship taking place next week. The top twelve teams in the nation will compete for the National Championship title at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas from April 13-15. This week, teams are using every last minute to finish preparation before arriving in Waco next week.
How do teams often prepare for such a monumental week?
Teams use all obvious methods for preparation but, some methods that most people don’t see include video review, strength & conditioning training as well as additional practices. As a competitor, reviewing videos includes watching not only videos of yourself showing but also competitors and analyzing where strengths and weaknesses lie. Only after identifying strengths and weaknesses in the show pen can a rider improve the weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths. Strength & conditioning training entails working out just like any other college sport. Equestrians on these teams workout in order to be more effective while competing with their equine partner. As far as practice, teams are putting in the extra hours at the barn in order to sharpen skills before next week.
What is the competition format?
The teams are seeded and then matched up in a bracket format for the competition next week. The top four seeds in the NCEA Championship have all received first-round byes, with the remaining eight competing in the first round of competition. Similarly to the Conference Championships, teams will compete in two hunt-seat events (equitation over fences and equitation on the flat) and two western events (reining and horsemanship). In contrast to the Conference Championships, where five riders from each team compete in each event, at the NCEA Championship only four riders from each team compete in each event.
Wishing the best of luck to all competitors heading to the NCEA National Championship next week in Waco, TX!