In 1973 there were no cell phones, home computers, smart cars or internet but there were a determined handful of college coaches and teams who met in good-natured competition for what became the first annual Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships. This May 2-5, the Equine Arena of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg will host the 40th celebration of what are now the oldest and largest collegiate equestrian national championships in America, bringing together more than two dozen teams and 400 individual riders who qualified through regional and zone finals for the privilege of competing as college riding’s best of the best.
Following the conclusion of western Semi Finals and hunter seat Zone Finals, the following teams, respectively, have qualified:
Western teams: Zone 1/2 SUNY-Oswego; Zone 3/4 St. Andrews University; Zone 5 Middle Tennessee State University; Zone 6 Ohio State University, University of Findlay, University of Kentucky; Zone 7 West Texas A&M University; Zone 8 California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Hunter seat champion/reserve teams: Zone 1 Mount Holyoke College/University of New Hampshire; Zone 2 St. Lawrence University/Skidmore College; Zone 3 Centenary College/Delaware Valley College; Zone 4 St. Andrews University/Goucher College; Zone 5 Berry College/Savannah College of Art & Design; Zone 6 Otterbein University/University of Findlay; Zone 7 Purdue University/Louisiana State University; Zone 8 Stanford University/University of Colorado-Boulder.
Find lists of IHSA National team, individual, high point rider and alumni entries: https://members.ihsainc.com/publicnationals/nationalentries.aspx.
The Nationals’ strong support includes partners AQHA, USHJA, USEF, and NRHA. NRHA President, Beth Himes, will attend Saturday, May 4, as will 1996 U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Silver medalist Peter Leone, to autograph copies of his book, Show Jumping Clinic (provided among hunter seat awards). National Show Hunter Hall of Famer/CA Professional Horsemen’s Association Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bernie Traurig of EquestrianCoach.com, will present Excellence Awards offering internships with Missy Clark or Tim McQuay, and an Antares Helmet or $500 Pards Western Shop gift certificate.
Streaming video coverage will be through the EPCO Group. Those who cannot attend Harrisburg can follow embedded links on IHSAinc.com and the IHSA Facebook page.
Thanks to Florida State University IHSA Western coach Jean Anthony, Wind Creek Casino and Hotel will sponsor NRHA Inside Reining coverage of IHSA western and reining classes for its July programming schedule with host Jenifer Reynolds, who began covering news and rodeo in Oklahoma City, earning a DuPont-Columbia Award for broadcast journalism while in college (the only student to ever do so).
New sponsors and vendors include Green Valley Tack, on site and providing Ariat Olympia, Pikeur, and Frantisi Grand Prix riding wear. Mental skills coach Tonya Johnston’s new book, Inside Your Ride, is among the awards as are free coaching sessions for one lucky rider. New this year are the personalized services of Signature Spurs and Bains Whips, plus Ariat, EquiFit, Flex Trunk, Noble Equine, Parlanti, RJ Classics, Samshield and Valley Vet.
In addition to support at Regionals and Zones/Semi-Finals, SmartPak Equine will sponsor 25 team gift baskets, silent auction items, and Hunt Seat Horse of the Show and Western Horse of the Show award packages including a year of SmartPak supplements, bridle or headstall, and engraved plaque.
The IHSA appreciates the enduring support of BridlePlates.com, Charles Owen, Chronicle of the Horse, Collegiate, ECE Equestrian Collection, Hodges Badge, Hoof and Woof, IPPOS, Oakcroft, Perri’s Leather, Phelps Media Group, Revitavet, Total Equestrian and Weatherbeeta.
The show program cover artist is Judy Goldthwait, a 1998 graduate of Cazenovia College with a BFA in Commercial Illustration whose commissions include IHSA and New England Equitation Championships.
At noon, Saturday, May 4, IHSA athletes will welcomed by Harrisburg Mayor, Linda D. Thompson, before scholarship presentations and awarding of the USEF/Cacchione Cup.
“We deeply appreciate the diverse support of our industry,” said show manager, Bill Yeager.
Admission and parking are free to the public and are a chance for families looking at colleges and scholarship opportunities to learn what is available for students while finding top-notch riding and boutique shopping experiences.
IHSA promotes competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional and national levels, based on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. Learn more about the 40th IHSA National Championships at www.IHSAinc.com or follow teams and riders on the official Facebook page and on Twitter at @IHSAinc.