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Varsity Equestrian Provides a Competitive Outlet for College Women

by Sam Etsell


K-State Equestrian Member Sam Etsell. Photo credit Willie Gomez Photos

After finishing their youth career, most 18-year-old competitors of the WRHA find themselves moving to the non-pro or hanging up their spurs. But that is not that case for all. In 1998, Varsity Equestrian was established for college women to compete in four different riding events, one of which is reining. Since then, 23 colleges have joined in to bring exciting competition, increase enthusiasm, and work to be recognized as an official NCAA sport.

Not a typical horse show format, Varsity Equestrian allows participants from competing schools to show, head to head, using the same horse. Horses and competitors are drawn at random and each rider is allowed a four minute warm up on the horse they draw before entering the show pen. This exciting format proves challenging for all riders and does an excellent job of leveling the playing field.

Former WRHA competitor and Texas A&M Alumni Tara Christiansen really embraced her collegiate riding opportunities saying, “Varsity Equestrian offered me an amazing opportunity to continue my passion of showing horses through college. A rider has to step outside of her comfort zone to be able to show a horse she has never ridden before.” In addition to honing a rider’s skills, Varsity Equestrian offers many benefits for the student/athlete and is the perfect opportunity to continue showing reiners through college.”

More information about this exciting sport can be found at And as always, information on WRHA can be found on the web at or follow us on Facebook.


Published February 2012 Issue

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