The NCEA is proud to announce the first recipient of the Coach of the Year award. Stacy Sanderson, assistant hunter seat coach for Baylor University, helped led the Baylor hunter seat team to its first ever National championship this season.
Stacy, a second year coach in both NCEA and collegiate riding, has been instrumental in the success of the hunter seat team this season. Stacy started riding when she was 16 years old at a local barn. Eventually she worked her way up to being a working student for Don Stewart and Christina Schlusemeyer . It was here that she got her first taste of watching junior riders developing into serious competitors in both the equitation and the hunter rings.
Eventually Stacy and her husband David were able to build and open their own 28 stall training facility in Ocala, Florida in 1999. Stacy started to develop her own riders and gain valuable experience coaching equestrian in a public forum, first at local shows and eventually many of the larger venues. “We had several girls that rode with us that went onto successful collegiate careers in equestrian competitions,” says Stacy. “After spending 15 years on the road, the idea of having a more stable and structured life seemed very appealing to myself and my husband David who is also in the equestrian business. The opportunity presented itself to us when one of Don’s former students encouraged us to look into a coaching position at Baylor. We fell in love with the dynamics of Collegiate Competition so after a short visit to Baylor and a meeting with Head Coach, Ellen White we decided it would be a great time for a transition into coaching at the collegiate level.”
“College riding is so different because you only have one shot and four minutes of warm up to get a point for your team. Generally you are riding a horse you have never ridden so that makes it even more challenging. Riders have to possess the ability to adapt quickly with the horse they have drawn, figure out the horses stride length and make it perform as well as it can. It takes a unique personality and a great deal of talent from a rider to be able to put everything together for a winning performance in short a short period of time” according to Coach Sanderson. “As a coach, to stand back and witness it all coming together, like it did for our Baylor hunter seat team at Nationals makes it an unbelievable feeling.”
The NCEA Coach of the year award is voted on by all coaches in the NCEA. It is designed to recognize an outstanding head or assistant coach in the sport of equestrian. “It is an honor to be recognized as the NCEA coach of the year. To know that I was voted in by my peers, my fellow Coaches that I hold so much respect for, is an indescribable feeling. I am grateful and humbled. I want to thank everyone for making my first two years with the NCEA such a wonderful experience.”