What is Student Riding and why should you be a part of it?

Student riding is a different and fun way to compete, meet new people and gain new exciting experiences for university students all over the world. Today there are approximately fifteen active member countries that go to AIEC student riding competitions.

The setup is a bit different than an ordinary show since every rider competes on horses that they have never ridden. Moreover, they only compete against competitors riding the same horse. For example; if three contestants ride horse A and three other contestants ride horse B, the riders that succeed in making the best result on each horse will meet each other in the next round, riding horse C.

The student riding competitions are team competitions and are usually carried out in both dressage and showjumping, where the most desirable prizes are the combined ones. A team typically consists of three riders from one country, but international or oldies (former student riders or student riders with an age over 28) teams can occur.

When you go to your first AIEC student riding competition you have to be a university student. However, after the first show you can keep going as long as you like… As most of us do!

Different Types of Competitions

The following abbreviations are used:

SRNC Student Riding Nations Cup
CHIU Concours Hippique International Universitaire
International University Equestrian Competition
CHU Concours Hippique Universitaire
National University Equestrian Competition
WUEC World University Equestrian Championship
DHM Deutsche Hochschulmeisterschaft
German National University Equestrian Championship

Important People

The Technical Delegates (TDs) and the Assistant Technical Delegates (ATDs) make sure the student riding competitions run as smooth as possible and are always there to help the organizers if tricky situations should arise.

Each AIEC member country has one (or more) National Responsible (NRs) who are responsible for the communication with each country’s student riders as well as the AIEC board. They make sure that teams are sent to the competitions and can answer all your questions about the shows.

A Typical SRNC

In most cases the SRNCs starts on a Thursday with the arrival of teams and supporters. The first night usually starts off with a welcome party where the competitors drop in as soon as they have arrived to the venue.

Next comes the Friday which consists of first and second round of Dressage. In the first round the whole team enters the arena together to ride a synchronized program. The contestants are judged both individually and as a team. The riders that impresses the most go though to the next round where they ride individually. At the Friday night there is usually a theme party where the theme can be anything under the sun. Examples from the last few years have been “Disney”, “16th century”, “Swedish midsummer” etc.

The Saturday offers showjumping, first and second round. The fences usually starts at a height of approximately 0.90 m and are raised 10-20 cm for every round. The first round is judged on style and second round on style and faults. When the jumping is finished everyone puts on their best suits and dresses for the gala dinner, which is one of the weekend’s absolute high-points. At some point during this three course meal the winners of the second rounds are announced.

At the last day you will see both dressage and showjumping semifinals and finals. When the winners of each discipline are namned the prize giving ceremony can start. This is a ceremony including every participating rider and it is very important to be there even if your results may not be at the top this time.

When the prize giving is over the SRNC can be declared finished. However, this does not mean that everyone goes home. A lot of riders and supporters tend to stay an extra night of partying before heading home on the Monday. ‘Cause we all want to stay in that AIEC bubble a little bit longer!