Must-knows for meet days: an equestrian guide

No. 7 Baylor equestrian opens its season on Thursday against No. 10 South Carolina at One Wood Farm in Columbia, S.C. Grace Everett | Photo Editor

By AnnaGrace Hale | Sports Writer

As No. 7 Baylor equestrian begins its season on Thursday, now is the time to brush up on your riding knowledge and the logistics of each meet day. There are many different riding styles within the equestrian sport, however during National Collegiate Equestrian Association and NCAA competitions, riders compete in the jumping seat and western disciplines.

During meets, 10 riders — five from each school — compete in each of the four events. The university that hosts the meet provides horses for each matchup. This can be challenging because away teams have to quickly adjust to unfamiliar horses before competing with them. Each rider is given four minutes to warm up on her assigned horse before taking the arena.

Both styles consist of two events: flats, fences, horsemanship and reining. Each meet lasts around two-to-three hours, and during this time, one event from each discipline happens simultaneously. Jumping seat encompasses the flat and fences competition and is ridden in the English style. Western is horsemanship and reining and is in the Western style.

There are 20 points available — five for each event and one for each pairing within the event. The rider who receives the point for her team must score higher than her opponent. The team with the most points wins.

Jumping Seat Flat

Each rider must perform eight predetermined movements with their horse in a 40-by-20 meter arena. This box is called a flat box. The rider then receives a score out of 100. This event is focused on accuracy and precision. Each movement is judged out of 10 points, and the remaining points come from the position of the rider on her horse, her effectiveness in those positions and the efficiency regarding movements (remaining fluid and forward).

Jumping Seat Fences

A course of eight jumps is set in the arena for riders to take on. Fences evaluate the smoothness, consistency and position of a rider when taking jumps with her horse.

Additionally, the stride pattern of the horse is examined when the rider finds a distance to and attempts a jump. If the horse cuts a stride short or leaves the ground early when attempting a jump points are deducted. The rhythm of the movements in between each obstacle is important. This point scale is out of 100.

Western Horsemanship

The rider is assigned a set of seven-to-nine maneuvers to compete with her horse. Execution, body position and form are emphasized with riders working together with her horse. The more precise the better. This scoring system starts at a base score of 70 and points are added or taken away based on each movement.

Western Reining

This event is similar to horsemanship in that there is a set of maneuvers each rider must compete with, but this contest is faster paced and tests the horse’s and rider’s athletic abilities. The pattern assigned consists of varying speeds with movements like spins, circles and stops. The base score is also 70 points which can be added to or subtracted from.

That’s it, now you are an equestrian pro. Keep up with The Baylor Lariat all season long for updates on how the Bears are doing.