When I decided to go to university, I realized that anything farther than an hour from home would make riding at SJD difficult for the next four years. Luckily, I came across a not to small association titled the Ontario Collegiate Equestrian Association. The O.C.E.A.was officially founded in 2007 as a way for students to continue riding and showing though university, but without the hefty time and money commitments. It has now grown to be an association including 19 schools across three zones.
Similar to America's Intercollegiate Horse Show Associate the O.C.E.A. offers hunter equitation classes under saddle and over fences. The true test is for riders to compete on generously donated horses that they have not previously ridden.
As a result, there is a level for every level of rider: Beginner (18”), Novice (2’3”), Intermediate (2’6”) and Open (3’0”). You division is based on previous experience that you showed at. This year I am happy to be competing on the Open team with a great bunch of riders from McMaster.
I personally love the concept of an Equestrian Team. Sure our barns are all like teams, however the O.C.E.A program fosters a supportive and fun environment by tracking team points. Today I got to see it all in full force. Colours and Cheers where loud and bold from 7:30 am to the awards ceremony at 3:30 pm. The day is jam packed but moves efficiently and successfully over some eighty over fences, eight fat classes and eight warm ups.