Syracuse, New York- April 27, 2012- More than 330 of the nation's leading middle school and high school equestrians competed at The New York State Fairgrounds April 20-22 for the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals sponsored by Dover Saddlery and the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA). The finalists represented over 100 teams from seven zones throughout the United States. Individuals and teams participated in multiple competitions during the 2011-2012 regular season shows, regional and zone finals to qualify for the IEA National Finals competition.
Riders competed in Hunt Seat Equitation Over Fences classes and Equitation on-the-flat classes throughout the weekend. The IEA format requires that riders 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.
In the individual competition Rebekah Chenelle, who rides for the Windcrest Equestrian Team of Hebron, Connecticut, was named the IEA Leading Hunt Seat Rider of the Year, winning the Varsity Open Championship class.
In the upper school team competition, the Empress Valley Team of Columbus, Ohio, earned the Championship title. The Dana Hall School of Wellesley, Massachusetts, was the reserve champion team. In the middle school competition, Storybook Farm from Charleston, South Carolina,received the championship title. The Athens Academy Equestrian Team from Athens, Georgia, finished as the reserve champion.
In the spirit of the 10th Anniversary Celebration, the IEA held an Alumni Varsity Open Championship class attended by past winners. Allison Joyce, who rode for the Rising Star Equestrian Team in 2009, won this award.
The IEA holds the trait of good sportsmanship among rider and coach members to the highest regard. For this reason two awards were given to recognize rider members displaying exceptional sportsmanship. In conjunction with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), Zac Brown from the Hancock Horseman Equestrian Team, Findlay Ohio, won the IEA National Sportsmanship Award. Cody Wooten, from Full Moon Farm, Finksburg, Maryland was awarded the Victor Hugo-Vidal Perpetual Trophy for displaying exceptional sportsmanship during the 2012 Hunt Seat National Finals.
The Timothy J. Boone Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Myron Leff, Columbus, Ohio for his long-time contribution to the IEA. He is an IEA co-founder; continues to serve as a board member and as the organization's Communications Director. He is credited with establishing the IEA identity through an industry-leading brand program. This is the fifth year in which this award has been presented.
The IEA Western National Finals, sponsored by the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHYA), will be held during the NRHA Derby Days June 27-30 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Founded in 2002, the IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels. For more information, please view the IEA website at: www.rideiea.org
The IEA is an affiliate of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).
For more information about IEA and a complete list of riders/teams final standings visit the website: www.rideiea.org
Photos: Rebekah "Becca" Chenelle IEA 2012 Leading Hunt Seat Rider of the Year; Storybrook Farm-Charleston, South Carolina IEA 2012 Middle School Championship Team L to R: Sophie Mauerhan; Darby Pease; Alicia Story (Coach); Hannah Pressler; Karoline Hankinson and Anna Bradley Morrow Moon Farm, Finksburg, Maryland was awarded the Victor Hugo-Vidal Perpetual Trophy for displaying exceptional sportsmanship during the 2012 Hunt Seat National Finals.