Who Says you Have to Stop Riding Horses in College? Five Things to Know About the NCEA

Although summer is approaching, it is never too early to start thinking about your college plans! Especially when they can include horses, because who doesn’t love horses?! Whether you are about to enter high school or you are about to finish, you’ll want to read this!

Here are 5 things you need to know about the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA):  

NCEA Collegiate Equestrian Championship

(c) NCEA 
1. What is the NCEA?

NCEA stands for National Collegiate Equestrian Association. It currently has 14 universities ranging from the East coast of the United States all the way to the West Coast.

2. Money, money, moneyyy

NCEA is officially recognized by the NCAA as a Division 1 Woman’s sport and do you know what that means? SCHOLARSHIPS! Ranging from partial to full, not only could you ride horses in college but you could get your education paid for at the exact same time!

NCEA National Collegiate Equestrian Association

(c) Caitlin Creel
3. Who can ride in the NCEA?

The NCEA offers two divisions of competition, Western and Hunt- Seat, and then two sub-divisions under each of those which are Horsemanship and Reining and Equitation on the Flat and Equitation Over Fences, respectively.

4. Wait, it’s a team sport?!

Riding in the NCEA is completely different from your typical equestrian competition. How it works: two girls from opposing teams, both ride the same horse and whoever earns the higher score for the performance wins the point for their team! For each meet, there are 20 points up for grabs, so the first team to 11, given there were no tied points, wins the meet!

NCEA National Collegiate Equestrian Association

(c) Mackenzie Michaels
5. Benefits on Benefits!

Being a Division 1 athlete offers some incredible benefits! On top of paying for your education, you also have access to sports medicine doctors, incredible tutors, athletic gear, and the opportunity to make some pretty amazing memories with an incredible team of girls!


A lot of these schools attend some of the country’s biggest competitions, WEF, HITS Coachella, Devon, Indoors, etc. to recruit the best of the best, but just because you are not at one of those competitions doesn’t mean you can’t earn a spot on a team! Other alternatives include attending camps and clinics that these schools offer as well as sending in a video to showcase your riding skills!

Collegiateequestrian.com, the official website of the NCEA, holds Recruitment Questionnaires for many of the schools where you can attach your videos and they will be sent directly to the coaches! 

Hint: The more horses you can show yourself riding in an efficient video (3-5 minutes) the better opportunity the coaches will have to evaluate you!

(c) Mackenzie Michaels

There are a few differences between the NCEA and the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) and you can read about them here.

If interested in learning more about the IHSA, check out our blog post on the Riders of the 2019 IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational!

If you have any additional questions regarding riding in the NCEA, do not hesitate to reach out to support@theponyapp.com!

Happy riding! 

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