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 Mercer University

Equestrian Club and Team

   club picture



The Cluster article on newly formed club from Fall 2006



About the Club

Mercer Equestrian Club is a student organization open to all Mercer students, faculty and staff who are interested in horses regardless of prior experience or which breeds or type of riding they are interested in.  The club riders may enjoy a trip to watch the rodeo in Perry, Georgia or go watch a Jumping or Dressage in Conyers. In addition to the club, the Department of Recreational Sports and Wellness sponsors Mercer Equestrian Team, a competitive hunt seat equitation team, that represents Mercer University in intercollegiate competitions sanctioned by the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA). 

The club participates in many on-campus activities, volunteers in the community and provides members an opportunity to connect with each other. Club members have a chance to participate in activities at local stables, learn to ride or continue riding and attend or volunteer at equine events in the area. Activities have included volunteering at a local therapeutic riding center and sponsoring a Relay for Life team.  Members range from students with no prior horse experience to riders who have competed extensively or currently own their own horse.  The club meets every other Monday at 10am in the Connell Student Center. 

picture rider

The university does not operate a stable, but the club assists students in finding local riding lessons or boarding stables. A pair of jeans and a boot or shoe with a low heel is usually all that is required for riding. Most stables will require and provide special safety helmets. Trail rides at Roosevelt State Park(Roosevelt Stables) in Pine Mountain are a good introduction to riding. 

All club members who will participate in club affiliated activities that involve direct contact with horses must complete a MEC Liability Release Form and submit it to the Club Advisor. Students who need transportation to club events should contact a club officer or the Club Advisor for options. Please check the University Event Calendar and Mercer Equestrian Club on Facebook for news, events and club meeting dates, times and locations. Officer elections are held each Fall.  Annual Club dues are $25 and all members receive a free club t-shirt. 


Mercer Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Hunt Seat Team

The Mercer Equestrian Hunt Seat Team is a coeducational intercollegiate competitive equitation team that competes in Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) shows in Zone 5 Region 3 and is hosted by Bella Cavalla Farm.  IHSA competitions have 8 levels of equitation competition for riders ranging from beginner walk-trot through winners of state and national  equitation championships.

Bella Cavalla Jump Ring  Pasture fence

 Bella Cavalla Farm which is located near Lake Tobesofkee less than 30 minutes west of the Mercer University Campus in Macon hosts the Mercer Equestrian Team Lessons.  Bella Cavalla is also home to the Stratford Academy Interscholastic Equestrian Hunt Seat Team which gives middle school and high school riders from various local high schools and middle schools a chance to experience competitive riding without owning a horse.  Bella Cavalla is a full service facility and attends USEF Hunter-Jumper Shows. Bella Cavalla and their Trainer Nancy Seyfried welcome Olympian and USET Jumping Team member Terry Rudd to Macon, Georgia!  Terry will be training out of Bella Cavalla beginning in December 2012.


The Mercer Hunt Seat Team competes in IHSA Zone 5 Region 3.  The Region has been realigned for shows in Fall 2012 and later.  Mercer will compete at shows hosted by participating college teams in Georgia and South Carolina including Clemson, Furman, USC, USC Aiken, Charleston, Converse, Georgia Southern and Wesleyan College.  Zone 5  includes Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Kentucky and Virginia.  Both the Zone and Region are home to several very strong competitive teams.

horse picture

Paige Compton at IHSA Competition Hosted by SCAD (Fall 2011)


Recommended Reading and Viewing From the Team Coach

"What is the College Riding Experience Like?" - The Plaid Horse 2009

Equitation/Medal Riders Must be Athletes by Janet Salem from The Chronicle of the Horse

College Prep Invitational January 2012 - Traurig and Hofstetter to Judge

First Impressions Count - Arrivals and Departures - Frank Madden on Youtube

Frank Madden on "Fundamentals for Equitation" excerpt - YouTube

2011 IHSA Novice Equitation Over Fences Nationals Champion - YouTube


How to Join the Team

 All full-time Mercer undergraduates in good academic standing who can at minimum control a horse at the walk and trot may try out to compete in one of the IHSA Hunt Seat divisions. Men and women compete together in the same classes at competitions. For those who have never ridden, it takes approximately 20 weekly lessons to reach the minimum skill level needed to compete at the walk and trot.  All Team Riders must commit to taking at least one weekly lesson from the professional equitation instructor at the host farm. Competitions consist of Hunt Seat Equitation Classes divided by rider experience.  Riders are not required to jump at competitions. The Host Team provides appropriate horses and saddlery.   The team is growing and try outs for the competitive team will be held throughout the year. 

Students wishing to ride on the IHSA Team should contact the Team Coach for more information. Contact the host farm for lesson rates and schedules.  Those intending to be on the IHSA Team must schedule an evaluation lesson at Bella Cavalla who will consult with the Team Coach on placement.  Each IHSA rider must complete the MEC Release Form, Riding History Form, Team Handbook Form as well as the IHSA Profile Form and the IHSA and USHJA membership forms (click on the Forms link above) and proof of USHJA membership them to the Team Coach at least 3 weeks prior to their intended first competition.  The IHSA team fee, competition entry and travel costs and lodging costs are paid  for by the club. The individual IHSA and USHJA membership fees, weekly equitation lesson fees and competition apparel costs are paid for by the student. Team members should budget for $600/semester excluding show/competition apparel. 

 team pic

Required Competition Apparel

Show/Competition apparel consists of beige breeches, tall black riding boots (field or dress), a dark grey or navy blue hunt coat, a white (or pale solid color) show shirt with a choker (no pin needed), and black gloves.  Show helmets must be ASTM/SEI, black or grey and velvet or suede covered (schooling helmets or removable helmet covers are not acceptable for shows).  Prices and fit of show apparel vary widely with fit and color being more important than brand or price.  Riders must get their show apparel approved by the Team Coach.  The Rider's Closet is an excellent source for used show clothes and boots (including men's!) but may take 4-8 weeks to respond to a request.  Sometimes show helmets and coats are available to borrow from the team, coach or other riders.

Requirements for Attending Competitions

IHSA Riders must have their weekly lessons from the Equitation Instructor documented on the Lesson Verification Form, commit to an hour of barn work per week, attend Team meetings and demonstrate teamwork and a positive attitude.   Riders must be in good academic standing, have a GPA of 2.0 or better in the prior semester and be enrolled for 12 credit hours in order to compete. The Coach will make arrangements for travel and lodging at competitions.  If you plan to ride on the team, please note that some competitions may conflict with Fall or Spring Break or other campus events.  Please plan accordingly. Riders will be asked to confirm their intent to compete with the Team Coach by the entry deadline, approximately 7 to 10 days, before each competition.   Riders should be able to commit to 75% of the scheduled competitions in a semester.  Riders do not have to ride both semesters. 

Riders must contact the Team Coach (the coach will not contact you) to obtain confirmation that all of your forms have been received by the coach prior to the deadlines!!

For further information please contact:

  Alesa Weber  - MEC Club President 2012 - 2013

Email:  Carole Burrowbridge - Advisor and Head IHSA Coach

Find "Mercer Equestrian Club" on Facebook and "MECihsa" on Youtube



Students participating in Mercer Equestrian Club activities on or off campus are bound by the Mercer University Student Code of Conduct and Club Sport Handbooks. IHSA participants are bound by IHSA rules. Participants in equine related activities assume all responsibility and risk from the participation in any and all Mercer University Equestrian Club  or IHSA Team activities held off campus including travel to events and meetings, practice or competition at any off campus facility connected with Mercer University Equestrian Club; they further agree to hold Mercer University, all club officials including coaches and advisors, teachers, trainers or agents free from all damages or liabilities for any injury to persons or property arising while engaging in club or team activities or club or team related travel.

Mercer University - 1400 Coleman Ave. - Macon, GA  - 31207

               website last updated 09/12/12