By Indrek Kongats
The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) was founded over 15 years ago with the sole purpose to allow student riders from grades 6-12 to compete nationally against one another. No rider needs to own a horse and is open to Public School, Private School and Barn teams. Riders can compete in Hunt Seat and Western (Reining and Horsemanship) with classes ranging from Future Beginner up to Varsity Open. A rider’s age does not determine what class they compete in, but rather their riding ability does.
Future Beginner riders are new to the sport, while the best riders compete in the Varsity Open class; there are five classes or levels in all.
There are 10 zones all across America with the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania falling into Zone 2. Within Zone 2. there are over 350 teams with an average of 15 riders per team; over 5,000 compete in Zone 2.
To be able to qualify for the zone competition is a real honor and to win first place is a real challenge and a great accomplishment.
Western New York hosts two teams that qualified for the Zone 2 finals that were held April 1 and 2 at Centre Hall, PA. Cattaraugus County was represented by the WNY Equestrian Team training at the Nash Hill Equestrian Center in Gowanda, NY. Allegany County was represented by TMC Equestrian Team training in Cuba, NY. Riders for these teams come from all over, as far away as Orchard Park, East Aurora, and Strykersville and nearby from Ellicottville, Little Valley, Concord and Olean.
The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) has partnered with the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and the American National Riding Commission (ANRC) to bring more knowledge to IEA members on how to prepare for college riding through the “Collegiate Connection” education series and offer College Scholarships Awards for the first and second highest placing Seniors (12th Grade) competing in Individual classes at IEA National Finals.
The Hunt Seat National Finals will be April 21-23, 2017 at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA, while the Western National Finals are June 30-July 2, 2017 at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, OK.
Congratulations goes out to Julia Stayer from Olean High School, riding for TMC, who placed 1 st in Varsity Open Horsemanship and will be going to Oklahoma.
Tori Lee, training out of Dunham Sport Horses in Little Valley, but riding for TMC, placed second in JV Novice Team Horsemanship. Heli Kongats from Ellicottville, riding for WNY, qualified for both Varsity Intermediate Individual Reining and Horsemanship, but failed to place at the zones and advance further this year.
For more information please contact:
Heather Payne, Western NY Equestrian Team, Gowanda, (716) 640-1133
Tonya Cooper, TMC Equestrian Team , Cuba, NY, (607) 769-2526