The Michigan Equestrian Team accepts anyone with an interest in horses, from first-time riders to those with years of high-level competitive experience. We believe that every rider has something to offer and something to learn as we practice, compete, and spend time together. We compete through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) as a Hunt Seat team. Even beginner riders are offered the opportunity to compete at the Walk-Trot level as they begin to develop their skills. Those who are not interested in competing are also welcome to join the team and practice with us.
In addition to riding, the Michigan Equestrian Team offers several fantastic social events, which provide a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends. Social activities include Ben & Jerry’s movie nights, cookie decorating, a year-end banquet, and many more. We also volunteer at Starry Skies Equine Rescue and Sanctuary.
The Michigan Equestrian Team is a part of the network of Hunter Seat Equitation teams competing through the IHSA, an organization which intends to give any college student the chance to participate in horse shows regardless of riding ability or financial status. We are a member of Zone 6, Region 4, and compete against universities based in Michigan and Canada. Generally, we attend between five and eight horse shows per academic year, including a two-day show hosted by our team.
The IHSA provides competitive divisions on the flat and/or over fences for every level of rider, beginning with Walk-Trot and continuing to Open Equitation Over Fences (maximum jump height of 3’3”). Horses are provided by the host team, and each rider draws their mount by lot before their class. A new member’s beginning division is determined by a combination of a survey of past experience and an evaluation ride completed at the beginning of the year.
Entries in each show are determined by our coach based on ability and participation in practice and lessons. Riders earn individual points based upon their placement in each class, and one rider per division is selected to win points for the entire team. Riders who acquire 36 individual points advance one division and have the opportunity to compete at Regionals and potentially move on to Zones, and from there, to Nationals.
Team practices are held every other week. Flat riders practice Tuesday evenings and Jump riders practice Wednesday evenings. Practices are held at Willowbrooke Farm in Plymouth, MI, about twenty-five minutes off campus. The team runs a carpool for practice.
Those riders intending to compete over fences are required by the IHSA to take additional weekly lessons, and many other members of the team choose to take lessons for extra practice. Most lessoning members join group lessons with teammates for the sake of carpooling and having the chance to ride with friends. More information on lessons and pricing is available on Willowbrooke’s website.
Find us at Festifall when Fall semester begins or contact our new member officer.
Full Team Meeting - TENTATIVELY Nov 29th (7pm)
WMU Horse Show - Oct 15th
Kalamazoo Horse Show - Oct 21/22nd
MSU Horse Show - Nov 4/5th
Albion Horse Show - Nov 18th
UM Horse Show - Jan 20/21st
Albion Horse Show - Feb 10th
Regionals (Willowbrooke) - Feb 24th
Zones (Otterbein) - Apr 7th
The Michigan Equestrian Team is proud to be involved in volunteering and fundraising for Starry Skies Equine Rescue and Sanctuary, a local non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing rehabilitation, training, and placement for rescued horses, as well as end-of-life care for those horses unsuitable for placement.
As a team, we coordinate frequent volunteering trips to Starry Skies. Though we are glad to assist in any way we can, typical volunteering activities include cleaning, stable management, animal socialization, and grooming. More advanced riders contribute to the training of rescue horses both on the ground and under saddle.
The team also organizes several fundraising events throughout each academic year. We donate the money we raise to Starry Skies for their use in taking care of the rescue animals and maintaining their facilities. As equestrians, we believe supporting Starry Skies is one of the best ways we can give back to the community.
Absolutely not! In fact, most team members do not own horses or do not have their horses at college with them. In IHSA, the host college provides all of the horses for the shows, so there is no need to own your own horse.
No, there are divisions for every level of rider, so we need riders from all experience levels!
Our team is based at Willowbrooke Farm in Plymouth Michigan, which is owned and operated by our coach, Jennifer Blades.
We do hold evaluation riders to give our coach, Jen, a chance to see you ride and ensure you are placed in the correct division. We do not cut anyone from the team.
No, we all carpool to practice, lessons, and shows, so there is no need to own a car.
You do not need to own any tack. Any member who wants to show must have the correct show attire. However, if you do not own show clothes, we can almost always find clothes that fit you to borrow from other showing members.
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Coach: Jennifer Blades
Please visit the website here for more information about the barn and for lesson inquiries.