Middle and High School Equestrian Team

Pure Nebraska
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 10:53 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 4, 2022 at 10:56 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A club in Lancaster County is the first of it’s kind in Nebraska, and it allows kids to get a feel for what it’s like to ride horses, and compete.

Big Red Elite Equestrian was established November 2019 with Kesley Ebke as coach. The team provides the horses for participants who want to learn the skill of riding and showing horses. The team is similar to the collegiate Equestrian team at UNL. “I kind of equate it to a club sports team like volleyball or baseball,” Ebke said.

Equestrian teams, grades 4-12, that are registered with the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), can compete in other IEA horse shows. They ride horses that are provided by the team that is hosting the show. “We are a ‘western’ team, so they ride a western saddle,” Ebke said. “We work on horsemanship, reigning and ranch riding. So it’s three different events.” Points are earned per team and per rider. If required points are met throughout the show season, teams then compete at a regional show. Earning a first place spot at a Regional competition will then allow those riders to compete on a national level. This year the Nationals will be held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The UNL Equestrian team is hosting a Regional IEA horse show on Saturday, March 5, 2022. It will be open to the public. Supporters of the club say they are involved in a sport not many people know about. Because the club provides the horses, club members don’t have to have a horse of their own. Club parents say it’s been fun watching students that have never ridden a horse, go into a show ring and perform.

What’s unique is this club provides horses for participants. “There’s all different levels,” Ebke said. “There’s a beginner level, and most of those people don’t own a horse, all the way up to an open level, and those are the kids that have been showing their entire life. Through this team, I’ve seen many kids get so much more confident in their horsemanship skills, we have a really tight-knit group of kids and it’s been really fun.”

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