Interested in becoming a Jackrabbit equestrian rider?
To become a member of the team, the coaches need to access your academic and athletic abilities. There is an online questionnaire to fill out. In addition, you need to send a copy of your high school transcripts, ACT and/or SAT score, as well as a short list of your riding history and accomplishments. The coaches also need to see a video of your riding. You can send a DVD or include a YouTube link. If possible, please show your abilities on more than one horse and give a brief description of the horse.
The coaching staff does not need a professional video, however they do need clear footage that they can easily see to clearly determine your position and abilities. If you have footage of past shows, please include some of that as well, but coaches prefer more recent video, so they can evaluate your current skills. Please remember to focus on your horsemanship/equitation and not the hunters, jumpers or pleasure from a show.
Ideally, a prospective student-athlete should submit their video during their junior year or the summer before their senior year; however, the coaches do accept applications submitted during a student-athlete's senior year. Information may be scanned and e-mailed or mailed to:
2820 HPER Center
Brookings, SD 57007
Coaches may receive telephone calls from prospective student athletes at any time in their high school career. However, coaches cannot return phone calls to students prior to July 1 of their senior year in high school. After that point, NCAA rules restrict coaches to one phone call per week. When leaving a message for a coach, please be sure to also give your year in school. E-mail is also a convenient way to contact coaches.
Horses and Equipment
The university provides all the horses and tack for practice and home meets. When the team travels, the host school provides the horses and tack at each competition. Student-athletes only need to bring apparel when traveling.
Judges score riders individually based on an ideal ride. We compete in a head-to-head format on unfamiliar horses. One student-athlete from each team competes on the same horse. The rider that scores the highest on that horse wins one point for their team.
South Dakota State looks for riders with the skills for success in one or two of the events in which we compete; hunt seat equitation over fences, hunt seat equitation on the flat, western horsemanship and western reining. Coaches prefer show experience at advanced levels, and most of the Jackrabbit riders specialize in one event. SDSU looks for talented and accomplished riders with the ability to successfully ride a variety of horses. In addition to riding skills, SDSU looks for responsible, athletic students that also succeed academically.
The NCAA allows each university a maximum of 15 full scholarships for equestrian, and SDSU offers the maximum. Equestrian falls under the category of an equivalency sport, which means that the coaches often divide scholarships into partial awards.
High School Juniors and Seniors
Register online with the NCAA Eligibility Center found at https://web1.ncaa.org/eligibilitycenter/common/
Start taking the SAT and/or ACT in the fall of your junior year, to allow plenty of opportunities for possible retakes when offered. When registering online for these tests, be sure to check the box requesting that a copy of your results be sent to the NCAA Eligibility Center (which has its own designated code of 9999).
High School Freshmen and Sophomores
You can contact coaches at any time by telephone or e-mail. However, due to NCAA rules the coaches cannot reply to e-mail sent by freshman and sophomores in high school. NCAA rules do allow coaches to answer questions from prospective student-athletes if they reach coaches on the phone. Coaches can also return e-mails to student-athletes beginning their junior year of high school and may make and return phone calls to students beginning July 1 prior to their senior year. If a student-athlete would like to visit the school, they can set up an "unofficial" visit at any time with one of the coaches. An unofficial visit, made at the expense of the prospect, can occur prior to the senior year.
You may want to organize your competition records. Start making a list of year-end awards and/or seasonal show highlights, and update it regularly. Also, from ninth grade forward, start keeping a detailed accounting of all prize money won and expenses incurred at horse shows, which includes saving and organizing all receipts.