The University of California, Davis, recently announced it will start a women's equestrian team, which will compete in the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA). Last year's NRHA Collegiate Reining Championship was won by an NCEA rider, Hannah Mitchell, of Cuba, Missouri. • Photo by Waltenberry.

UC Davis Makes Women’s Equestrian Team A Varsity Sport

A search is underway for a coach for the new University of California Davis varsity women’s equestrian team.

The team, which will begin operations in the 2018-19 school year, is one of two new women’s varsity teams created this month by the university near Sacramento, California. The team will be part of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), and compete against other large schools such as Fresno State, the University of Georgia and Texas A&M.

“We are very excited about the addition of a varsity equestrian team,” UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean Dr. Helene Dillard said in a statement. “This program will add another interesting dimension to the equine education and research activities that take place in our world-renown animal science program.”

During competition, equestrian teams use horses that are provided by the host institution. Horses that are part of collegiate equestrian programs are often gifted to universities. Competitions include reining, Western horsemanship, hunt seat equitation over fences and hunt seat equitation on the flat.

The UC Davis equestrian team will partner with the School of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. UC Davis is currently in the midst of a capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art equine performance center. 

“We look forward to ensuring that the equine athletes receive superb medical care from our world-leading clinicians and students, and anticipate collaborating with the varsity equestrian team in multiple ways that strengthen the leadership of UC Davis in equine health,” said Dr. Michael Lairmore, dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The university said a national search for a head coach will begin immediately. The second new team created by the university is beach volleyball.

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