HARRISBURG, Pa. —The Interscholastic Equestrian Association named 12 new U.S. Hunter Jumper Association individual champions, two team national champions, and the 2019 Leading Hunt Seat Rider during the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals, held April 26-28, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa.

Among those trophy winners were Sophia Olivero of Katonah, N.Y. She earned the USHJA Varsity Intermediate on the Flat championship.

“It feels so amazing [to have won],” said Olivero, who rides with the Grier School and coach Chrystal Wood in IEA Zone 11. “The horses I drew, I was so lucky to have ridden. They were such great horses, and it was so great of the barns today that provided horses. Everyone in my class did so well. I’m so honored to have won because everyone was such an amazing rider.

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“I love that [the IEA] teaches you to be able to get on a horse and to find out quickly how to ride that horse to the best of your ability. It really teaches you good lessons,” said, Olivero, 15.

The additional USHJA individual championship winners include:

Matthew Tracy, Briarwood Farm Equestrian Team, Ringoes, N.J., IEA Zone 11 – Varsity Open Over Fences

Sadie Koresh, Top Notch Equestrian Team, Stewartsville, N.J., IEA Zone 11 – Future Novice Over Fences

These riders, made up from 10 Zones across the country, vied for national titles and to be among the top eight riders in their classes. The finalists represented 191 teams from a total of 10,567 eligible hunt seat riders and 1,382 teams. Individuals and teams participated in multiple competitions during regular season shows, regional finals and zone finals to qualify for the National Finals competition.

The IEA utilizes a draw-based format that requires riders to compete in unfamiliar tack on unfamiliar mounts: therefore, they draw their horses the day of competition and enter the arena after a brief, if any, warm up.

Each year at IEA National Finals, the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC) presents a non-riding competition in the form of a written test and a hands-on practicum for a select group of finalists. The Holy Innocents Episcopal School Horsemanship Test Upper School winner was Claire Livingston of Lake Effect Equestrian Team in McKean, Pa. (Zone 11).

Dressage Finale Held in Ohio

The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) hosted a two-day Dressage Finale (Horse Show) on April 13-14, at the Otterbein University Equestrian Center in Westerville, Ohio.

The Finale was an opportunity for riders in grades 6-12, parents and equine professionals to come together to celebrate the culmination of a three-year Dressage Pilot Program of Dressage scrimmages held throughout the United States. In addition to the competition, the weekend included a United States Pony Clubs (USPC) sponsored Horsemanship Test and college fair. Nearly 150 young riders from across the nation participated.

Dressage will become a permanent IEA program beginning with the 2019-2020 season.

Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio played host to the IEA Dressage Finale for the second year in a row and supplied the riders with quality horses for the weekend. There were both Team and Individual riders competing in the Finale, with many riders competing in both qualifications. The Grier School, from Tyrone, Pa., took the Upper School Team Championship. RGB Equestrian, from Skaneateles, N.Y., was Reserve Champion. RGB Equestrian took the lead and won the Middle School Team Championship, with Standing Ovation, from Port Matilda, Pa., as Reserve.

The 2019 Champion IEA Dressage Rider was Lindsay Shaw from Grier School. Brynne McIntyre from Linden Hall took Reserve Champion. The weekend also saw Shaw win USDF High Point Champion and Brynne McIntyre win USEA High Point Champion. The Sportsmanship award was presented to Makayla Brooks from Three Rivers for her outstanding attitude and volunteerism, along with her standout leadership at the show.

Otterbein University’s Flynn was awarded Horse of the Show. 

In addition to riding classes, IEA members also had the opportunity to take a written Horsemanship Test hosted by USPC. The top placing written exam takers moved on to a hands-on Practicum Horsemanship Exam where they had to point out and explain the workings of a horse and its tack. Awards were given to the top eight Middle School and Upper School participants.

A complete list of results can be found at: https://wwwrideiea.org/national-finals/  

Membership Expanded to 4th and 5th Graders

The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Board of Directors recently voted to expand membership to include 4th and 5th grade riders in the middle-school division of Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage. For the past 17 seasons, IEA has been offered only to riders in grades 6 through 12. 

 The recently adopted rule change which will take effect beginning with the 2019-2020 Season reads as follows: Any full-time student enrolled in grades 4 through 12 during the application year is eligible to be a rider member provided they are less than 20 years of age on Sept. 1.

 With the addition of younger aged riders, the Board of Directors is also considering some changes to class offerings, but those are not yet finalized and will be released at a later date

 “We are thrilled to add 4th and 5th graders into our riding programs for next year!” said IEA Executive Director, Roxane Durant. “We started with an educational horsemanship program for these younger riders a few years ago, and there is so much demand that we are now opening our teams and competitions to them also. Giving students an earlier start to equine athletics is a great addition on every level. The earlier you find horses, the more years you will have to enjoy them!”

The 2019-2020 IEA season membership application process for new and returning teams will open in early June with competitions beginning Sept. 1.

For more information on starting a team, visit www.rideiea.org or contact Membership Marketing Coordinator, Jennifer Eaton at Jenn@rideiea.org.

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