The Maryville College Equestrian Team (MCET) is a student-led organization that is a part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). MCET was founded in the fall of 1994 by, then student, Christen Khym with the help of Dr. Mardi Craig and Sue Wyatt. Craig remained the team’s academic advisor until the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
The current academic advisor is Ms. Angela DeLozier. Khym is the coach and has been since the beginning. Deb Wilson is the team’s assistant coach.
IHSA has both English and Western disciplines. For English, the association includes hunt seat equitation, which is the discipline Maryville College competes in. Hunt seat equitation is characterized by forward seat riding. Its aim is to teach riders proper style and form.
Kaitlyn Sullivan riding Samuel on the flat at Sewanee.
Picture courtesy of Izzy Davis.
The rider’s job is to make their riding look as effortless as possible. IHSA offers five levels of hunt seat equitation on flat and three levels of hunt seat equitation over fences ranging from beginner to more experienced.
The MCET competes in Zone 5, Region 1 of the association. Zone 5 includes colleges all over the southern region of the country. Region 1 of this zone includes schools from Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky. The team competes each fall and spring semester in an average of eight regular shows per school year.
The team for the 2019-2020 school year is being led by senior captain Rachel Strickland and senior co-captain Cat Anderson.
The team also includes seniors Jenna DeLozier and Kaitlyn Sullivan, juniors Brylie Mays and Jessica Dutkosky, sophomores Gillian Funk and Becca Lesley, as well as freshmen Maddie Cunningham, Ashton McReynolds, Robin Bannow and Shelby Wood.
The Maryville College Equestrian Team 2019-2020. Pictured from left to right. Top row: Jessica Dutkosky, Becca Lesley, Cat Anderson, Gillian Funk, Kaitlyn Sullivan. Bottom row: Jenna DeLozier, Robin Bannow, Rachel Strickland, Ashton McReynolds, Maddie Cunningham, Brylie Mays. Missing: Shelby Wood.
Picture courtesy of Robin Bannow.
The team members are very supportive of one another. It’s rare that a rider will get off a horse after a lesson or after a show where they don’t hear the words “did you have a good ride?” or a simple “good job” from the others.
Each team member seems to have one horse that is their favorite horse to ride in lessons and/or one horse who is their favorite to ride during shows. For both categories, a team favorite is a Maryville College horse named Samuel.
There have been many riders who have qualified for the regionals, zones and nationals. At each show, there is a chance to win 0-7 points. If the rider builds up to 36 points in their class, they qualify for regionals. If a rider places in first or second at regionals, they move on to zones. If a rider places first or second at zones, they go on to compete at nationals.
MCET’s recent nationals qualifier, 2019 graduate Erin Buckley, qualified in limit over fences during the 2017-2018 school year and placed 6th in her class. There were four riders who qualified for zones in the 2018-2019 school year: Buckley, DeLozier, Sullivan, and Mays.
There are four shows scheduled this semester. They are on Feb. 8 and 9 at Middle Tennessee State University and March 6 and 7 at home at the Scots Ridge Equestrian Center. To receive updates regarding MCET, follow them on Instagram: @maryville_college_equestrian.