I woke up on Saturday morning and checked Twitter in bed. The first thing I saw was a tweet advertising the Baylor Equestrian meet. Naturally, I drove out to my first equestrian meet after a quick breakfast without a clue of what to except.
The first 10 minutes or so were admittedly the most confused I’d ever been at a sporting event, and I was extremely disappointed that the girls were riding horses instead of bears. There were two events going on, and I didn't even know how to get into the second one. I gravitated towards the noise in the outdoor event and found a seat on the small metal bleachers.
I struggled to figure out how the scoring worked, what I was supposed to look for, and even how the event was structured. I stayed in my seat, though (mostly due to the music being played and my proximity to Brad and Linda Livingstone). Seriously, the equestrian DJ needs a raise. Misterwives, Travis Scott, Journey, Chainsmokers, Coldplay... it was like he was using my personal playlist.
Eventually, I gave in and looked up the NCAA rulebook to do my research on the sport. Turns out, there are two different events going on at the same time, English and Western. Both events have two categories.
The Western event that I stumbled upon first is split between reigning and horsemanship. In these categories, riders are challenged to maneuver their horses in precise, yet aggressive movements. There were horses going from sprints to complete stops, doing turns on a dime, and running and circles. These horses must have had the horse version of Kyrie Irving's handles.
The English event was more traditional and elegant. For the fence event, riders had an assigned route to follow that leads them over... you guessed it: fences. The other English event is called the flat. In this category, riders perform various assigned tricks and skills in a confined area. This event was in the indoor arena, and the fans were much more respectful and quiet during the rides, so I spend most of my time outside at the Western.
There ended up being plenty of exciting stuff to view. These horses in the Western events were zipping around in their pen, spinning in circles faster than humans could, slamming on the breaks, and doing little kicks mid-run (... although I'm not sure if this was a good thing. It sure did look cool, though!).
This was Baylor's last regular season meet for the year; however, you'll be able to check out the team one more time at the National Championships. After the Big 12 tournament, the NCEA will be hosted in the Extraco Event Center right here in Waco on April 18-22. Come out and watch the Lady Bears contend for another National Title.
Rush Baylor Athletics!