NCEL Organization

The National Capital Equitation League (NCEL), founded in 1979, seeks to promote and foster team spirit while developing individual riders; to foster and encourage the art of equitation; and to reward junior riders for excellence in this art. NCEL is comprised of teams from riding schools located in Maryland and Virginia. Each riding school supports a team comprised of no more than nine riders (six to ride as point riders plus a maximum of three alternate riders). Riders must be juniors; defined “as an individual who has not reached his/her 21 st birthday prior to January 1 of the competition year for "A" League, and as an individual who has not reached his/her 19 th birthday prior to January 1 of the competition year for "B" League”.

NCEL is divided into two levels: The "A" League and the "B" League, and throughout the fall and winter, each holds its own series of round robin, team meets, patterned after the intercollegiate leagues. The number of teams in each League is limited to 12. Each riding school may have both an "A" team and a "B" team.

Riders compete both in a flat class and in two over fences classes. Riders competing in the “A” League jump 2'6"; while "B" league riders jump 2'. Riders draw horses provided by the host school. Prior to each flat class, riders are allowed a two minute warm up on the horse they have drawn. Prior to each jumping class, each rider may jump two course fences as practice fences and then confer briefly with their Coach before jumping the judged round. Those team members who ride as alternates ride in one flat class and one jumping class with four fences. Teams may rotate point riders and alternates from meet to meet with the exception that a member who joins a team after the competition year begins, may only ride as an Alternate. Points earned while riding as an alternate do not count for year-end high point team or individual awards, but do count for individual year- end alternate awards. Each meet closes with a Finale class. Picked by lottery method, two riders from each team compete on the flat (with and without irons), over two fences selected by the Judge and each rider must answer a question selected by the Judge from the NCEL list of questions. At the end of the season, a Finale meet is held for each League where all teams in that League compete on their own school's horses.

Most team members do not have the opportunity to own a horse. This type of competition allows them to test their equitation and horsemanship skills on many different types of horses. All horses used must be school horses owned by the participating school or privately owned horses that are used regularly in the host school's lesson program. Each coach encourages team support, sportsmanship and enthusiasm to be shown at each meet.

NCEL celebrates the end of the season with an awards banquet bringing the 'A' and 'B' Teams together. This is a gala event recognizing team riders with a ribbon corresponding to their teams' final placing in the League. The high point team in each league takes home an NCEL trophy to display in their barn for the next season. Riders are also placed individually according to points earned throughout the season. The top ten riders in each league are awarded ribbons and the high point rider's name is added to the NCEL plaque - again to be displayed at that rider's barn for the next season. Sportsmanship awards are determined by coaches' nominations made at the close of each scheduled meet and Coaches' awards are determined by team nominations made after each scheduled meet throughout season.

NCEL maintains a web site, www.NCEL.US , with the current season's updated points for both the A and the B Leagues. The site also contains information about NCEL, NCEL forms, and other information.

For more information about joining NCEL please call NCEL's current president, Michelle Benczkowskil, email:

Special Notes:

The Recording Secretary must receive all points from Meets within 1 week of the date the meet is held. Teams are encouraged to keep their own records of points earned at each Meet. Remember: All 3 team meets have 2 flat classes and 4 team meets have 3 flat classes. Host schools must collect sportsmanship nominations at the end of each Meet from the visiting team and mail them to the President. A Judge may officiate at only one "A" and one "B" meet per season, so make sure you ask them if they are judging any other Meets during the year. It is suggested but not required that you hire USEF, MHSA, or VHSA carded judges

(Rev. 1/2014)