Equestrian Team History
The Kansas State Equestrian Team started out as a club sport in 1999 with Teresa Slough as the sole coach. Although the team had just about 20 members that first year, the Wildcats won their first national title with Kelly Gratny earning the Reserve National Championship in Individual Western Horsemanship. Since becoming a varsity sport on campus in 2000, the team has since earned 9 national titles and sees around 120 girls try out for the team each year.
With the new requirements Title IX placed on schools to ensure equal opportunities for female athletes, K-State added Equestrian as their newest sport in 2000. The agricultural background of the school was a clear influence, as well as a strong interest from club members and other students on campus.
The team started out in a unique position competing in Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) competitions. This format required a team to show riders with all levels of experience, which allowed girls with little or no previous experience to compete as much as those with more knowledgeable backgrounds. Later, the team competed simultaneously in Varsity competitions where schools showed their best riders against each other. In 2006, however, the NCAA ruled that varsity schools could only compete in one national championship, which meant choosing between IHSA and Varsity. Due to the more competitive nature of the Varsity competitions, this is the format KSU currently competes in.
The current coaching staff includes Head Coach Casie Lisabeth, who started as Assistant Coach in 2006-2007 then served 2 years as Co-Head Coach with Ashley Foster. Casie leads the Western squad and is returning for her fourth season in 2009-2010. Lisabeth has led the Western Squad to two 5th place finishes and one 3rd place finish at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships. She guided Sara Weller (06-07), Morgan Campbell (07-08) and Alecia Zimbelman (07-08) to qualify for the NRHA Collegiate Derby competition based off their individual regular season and Nationals performances. Additionally, she coached Alyssa Freeman to an outstanding 08-09 season with a 15-4 record which landed her a spot in the Individual Horsemanship competition at the National Championship. Lisabeth is assisted by Associate Head Coach Gardner Powell who is starting her first season with the Wildcats in 09-10. Powell will be leading the Hunter Seat squad who grabbed a 6th place finish in 05-06 and a 3rd place finish in 06-07 at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships. Assistant Coach Casey Finnell is returning for her third season as a coach, after competing on the Wildcat Equestrian Team for four years. Finnell will be assisting Powell on the Hunter Seat side of the program.