The National Advisory Board of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association recently announced two new members will join the board to help with the mission of elevating and advancing equestrian to the most sustainable and strongest of all NCAA women's sports.
Dr. Jim Heird of Texas A&M and Liz Cordia of SMU will join the NAB, and both bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the board.
"We are very appreciative of their willingness to serve on our board," said David May, co-chair of the NAB. "Both new members are excited to roll up their sleeves and assist us in our initiatives as we continue with our strategic plans. Both are well-versed in the equestrian world and come with many years of experience."
Cordia is heavily involved with the SMU equestrian program, and hopes to use her vast network of contacts within the industry to spread the message and increase interest in the sport.
"I think first and foremost is that we grow the sport," Cordia said. "My objective is to see if we can get more colleges and universities on board."
Cordia had a son that played NCAA lacrosse, and her daughter always wanted to get involved in a team sport as well. However, growing up competing on the junior level in equestrian, it's all about the individual. When Cordia's daughter, Mary Elizabeth, received the opportunity to continue her equine career at SMU, it was a dream come true. It's important for her to give other young women that same opportunity.
"When this opportunity came about, she was thrilled that she would be able to be part of a team," Cordia said of her daughter.
Dr. Heird is currently the executive professor and coordinator of equine initiatives at Texas A&M, and he also holds the Dr. Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at the university. He was formerly on the executive committee of the National Western Stock Show and was an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) judge for nearly 40 years.
Dr. Heird believes in the NAB and its goal, and is anxious to contribute to the cause.
"I think anything we can do to help this program advance and get full NCAA accreditation is important, and if I can be a part of that with my history in the horse industry and in academia, I'll be glad to try and do that," Heird stated.