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Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully this page will be able to answer many of the questions you might have about our program or the varsity sport of equestrian.  If you still have questions after looking through our website, please feel free to contact us at equestrian@kstatesports.com.


Do I need a horse to be a member of the equestrian team?
No. Horses are owned and provided by each university. Team horses are accepted as donations through the Kansas State University Athletic Department.  

Can I use my own horse?
Not for team use. Team owned/leased horses are used for all practices and home competitions. During away competitions we will compete on the host schools’ horses. You are allowed to have your own horse while in college for your own personal use, but will need to find a boarding facility to keep it.

Will it cost me anything to be a member of the equestrian team?
No. The equestrian team provides almost everything needed to compete as a student athlete.  The Hunter Seat riders compete in team shirts and coats, and the Western riders show in team tops. Breeches, boots, hats, chaps, etc, are all available to you if you do not own them. However, if students have their own show clothing, they may be allowed to wear it along with the team tops.


How does the Varsity format work?
The standard events for varsity competitions include reining, horsemanship, hunter seat equitation on the flat, and hunter seat equitation over fences. Reining is judged and scored following the standard NRHA/AQHA scoring system. Horsemanship scoring follows the same guidelines as reining, where maneuvers are given a score from +1 to -1. The horsemanship patterns at varsity shows are longer and more complex than a standard horse show, and we remove the rail work portion of the class and only a pattern is judged. The equitation on the flat class is unique as it is set in a 20x40 meter dressage ring with dressage letters and riders are given a pre-determined test to perform. The judge will score each maneuver on a scale of 0-10 and tally the points; thus the total possible score is 100.

While it is similar to a dressage test, the rider is to be judged on her effectiveness and equitation in addition to the quality of movements. The Equitation over Fences class is judged according to USEF standards where riders will jump a course consisting of 8 fences at a maximum height of 3’6”. The judge then assigns one overall score to the ride.

In competition, one rider from each school will compete in a head-to-head format on the same horse. Riders are drawn at random to determine who they will compete against and which horse they will ride. Each rider receives a 4-5 minute warm-up period to get a feel for their horse. Then an approved judge will score each rider’s performance. When the scores of the two riders are compared, the rider with the higher score receives one point for her team. This format promotes a true team atmosphere and winning truly becomes a team effort. At the end of the day, the points are tallied and the team with the most points is declared the winner. Horses are provided by the host school, so riders will compete on their schools horses at home competitions and the host schools’ horses at away competitions.

When is the show season for the Equestrian Team?
The season runs throughout the academic year from September thru April. December and January are slower months as the students will be out of school for break.

Do all riders get to compete?
The number of riders competing varies from show to show.  Travel space and number of available horses usually determines how many riders compete, and those who are the most prepared for each show will represent the team.  A minimum of four riders are needed to compete in each event, but as many as 8 or 9 riders have competed at other events in the past as well.   

Life of an athlete

How many times do student athletes practice per week?
All athletes are scheduled to practice 3 times per week. The coaches hold practices daily and assign you to practice times around your class schedule. Coaches will assign you a different horse to ride each practice to help riders stay comfortable riding unfamiliar horses. In addition to 3 mandatory practices, the coaches will frequently offer open riding times where athletes can come out voluntarily to get in more ride time.

What type of horses do you ride?
For Western, the majority of the herd is Quarter Horses and Paints. Hunter Seat riders practice and compete mostly on Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods.

What other activities are mandatory for student-athletes?
All athletes are required to do 3 strength and conditioning sessions per week. Times are assigned by the coaches around your class schedule. Athletes will work with a strength trainer during their sessions.

Incoming freshman on scholarship are required to do study table their first semester in college. After that, all athletes can be placed on study table hours depending on what their GPA is. Study table is where athletes have to sign in at the appropriate locations and log a certain number of study table hours per week. This is to help ensure athletes are setting aside time each week to study and keep their grades up so that they remain eligible.

Throughout the year there will be other events that will be required as well There are weekly team meetings, horse care chores, preparation for horse shows, various community service activities, etc.