Each event during a competition requires five to six horses; around twelve to fourteen for English, and twelve to fourteen for Western. Each horse that the SMU Equestrian team competes with were donated to the team and are kept at the Dallas Equestrian Center.
“We are very grateful for every donated horse, since we wouldn’t have a team without them,” said Kelsie Brittan. “We treat them as top athletes.”
Boris, an 11 year old Dutch Warmblood, was first owned by SMU rider Ellie Young.
“He was a really nice Junior Hunter,” Katie Shepherd said. “He took second in the nation when Ellie owned him.”
He was sold to Teddy Vlock, owner of Vlock Show Stables LLC in Branford, Conn., and Vlock donated him to the SMU team four months ago. He currently competes in Equitation on the Flat.
“He is very energetic, and he’s always happy,” Brittan said. “He is extremely flashy and a high scoring horse. He definitely enjoys life on the SMU team.”
Tex was donated to the SMU team from rider Payton Neiberger’s trainer. He is a 10-year-old American Quarter Horse, and he competes in Horsemanship. Some of the horses that the team has are inexperienced, or “green”, but Tex is an exception.
“He was a show horse before we got him,” said Shepherd. “We are really lucky to have him. His skills translate to his performance in horsemanship because he is easy to maneuver. Some horses don’t know what you want, but he does because he’s more trained.”
Desi is a ten-year-old American Quarter Horse. She is one of the few mares on the team, and one of the nicest Horsemanship horses that SMU has.
“She is very talented, and a great mover,” said Shepherd. “She looks like the horse from ‘Spirit’.”
Parker has been a part of the SMU team for a year and a half. He is a 13-year-old Warmblood from California, and he competes in Fences. His large mane is often in his face and riders joke that they’re scared he can’t see.
“He likes to do things his own way,” said Brittan. “He’s a simple man.”
Parker is a favorite draw for the girls in the jumping competition.
Alaina is new to the SMU program, as the team welcomed her only two months ago. She is an 11-year-old Warmblood, and she competes in Fences and Flat. Alaina is one of the top horses in the collegiate riding program.
“She can jump really high, which makes her a top quality horse,” Haley Zimmerman said. “She is also very sensitive, and she allows you to work with her.”
Up next for the SMU Equestrian team is conference and nationals as they bring their season to a close.