Megan Rossiter took over the Jackrabbit equestrian program on June 6, 2011, after spending four years at Drake Johnson Reining Horses in Wray, Colo., where she assisted in instructing riders, training and showing reining horses.
"I really enjoy working with the young women on the equestrian team," Rossiter said. "Being involved in a program with such great support from the administration, staff and community makes this a great place to live and work."
Now in her fourth season with the Jackrabbits, Rossiter enters the season with a 12-20 overall record, and with a pair of NCEA National Championships appearances in both 2012 and in 2013, when the Jackrabbits made history by becoming the first team in school history to advance at nationals.
In her first season in 2011-12, Rossiter turned the team’s focus from NCEA and IHSA competitions to just NCEA meets, which puts more emphasis on the team aspect of the sport.
“Some schools compete in both IHSA and NCEA events, and I understand why they do that, but it just didn’t work for our team,” Rossiter said. “For us, we could do both, but couldn’t do both well, so we shifted our focus to NCEA competition only, which works better for our team.”
The Jacks posed a 2-5 overall record in her first season, with a 1-1 mark in hunt seat only meets and an 0-2 mark in western only meets. The western squad qualified for the NCEA National Championships, but fell to Kansas State by a 6-2 score in the opening round.
In just her second year at SDSU, the Rossiter-led Jackrabbits finished the season with a 7-6 overall record, with a 1-2 mark in hunt seat meets and a 1-1 mark in western meets. The western team again advanced to NCEA Nationals, and for the first time in school history, so did the hunt seat team.
Both squads made the most of their trip to Waco, Texas, for nationals by downing their first round opponents. The western squad rode to a 5-3 win over UT-Martin in the opening round before falling to Kansas State in the quarterfinals. The hunt seat riders captured a win over TCU in the first round on raw score, but fell to eventual national champion Auburn in the quarterfinals.
No stranger to the college coaching ranks, Rossiter began her collegiate coaching career at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla., where she helped coach the western team as a graduate assistant under head coach Larry Sanchez from 2001 until 2003, when she accepted a newly created assistant coaching position. During her time on staff at OSU, the Cowgirl western squad won the Varsity Equestrian National Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2006, and the reserve national championship in 2005.
In addition to Varsity Equestrian, the Cowgirls attained much success in IHSA competition. Rossiter-coached riders won 33 individual Zone championships, 18 Regional championships and seven national titles. The Cowgirls as a team also won Zone and Regional Championships in 2004, and the IHSA reserve western national title in 2002.
The 2013-14 Jackrabbits struggled out of the gate, but finished the season strong, by capturing the Independent Tournament Championship to finish with a 3-9 overall mark.
Rossiter began her involvement with horses in her hometown of DePere, Wis., where she grew up competing in the AQHA circuits, congress and in the AQHYA World Show. She then competed as an intercollegiate rider in both hunt seat and western events at Murray State University in Murray, Ky., where she participated in the National Student Exchange at New Mexico State University as a junior in 1998. During that year at NMSU, she competed with the Aggie equestrian team under then head coach Larry Sanchez.
Rossiter graduated from Murray State in 2000 with Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture with a concentration in equine science, and then earned a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science, with an emphasis on equine nutrition, from Oklahoma State University in 2008.