Host Universities Announced for the 2019 IHSA Western Semi-Finals

Thursday, December 13, 2018
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2018 IHSA Western National Champions-University of Findlay-Photo by

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) is celebrating their 40-year anniversary of the Western disciplines. Recently, the organization’s leadership announced the locations for the for their Western Semi-Finals, sponsored by the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), scheduled for March 16-17. The Semi-Finals are the decisive step for Western riders and teams to qualify for the IHSA National Championship Horse Show, May 2-5 in Syracuse, New York. IHSA riders compete in a range of levels in Western horsemanship and in the open level in both horsemanship and reining.

“The NRHA sees the value in supporting equestrians throughout their college years and sponsoring the IHSA Western Semi-Finals is just one way we are able to do that," said Hayle Eberle, manager of marketing and outreach alliances at the NRHA. "Our hope is that they continue to learn valuable life lessons while being able to stay involved with horses. Additionally, the exposure IHSA gives their members to reining is really like no other. We wish everyone competing to qualify for Semi-Finals good luck!”

FSU's Ellen Waidener, 2018 Alumni Western Horsemanship champion poses with Cailin Caldwell, Megan Taylor, FSU Western coach Jean Anthony and IHSA Founder and Executive Director Bob Cacchione. (Photo:

Florida State University (FSU) in Zone 5, Region 5, will host one Semi-Final at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida. Lynn Palm and Allen Mitchels will officiate as the judges.

In the 2017-2018 season, the FSU Western team sent Ellen Waidner to Nationals at the Pennsylvania Farm Center in Harrisburg, where she was the national champion in Alumni Western Horsemanship and placed fourth in Alumni Reining. Click here to learn more about the FSU team.

The University of Findlay, Zone 6, Region 1, will host a Semi-Final at their facility in Findlay, Ohio. Carolyn Johnson Russell and Pete McAllister will judge the event.

The University of Findlay IHSA Western team are the 2018 IHSA Western national champions. The Findlay Oilers also won national championship titles in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 and won the Reserve Champion title in 2008, 2014 and 2015. Learn more about the Findlay Western team here.

Utah State University (USU) in IHSA’s Zone 8, Region 1, will hold the third Western Semi-Finals event at their facility at the USU Equine Center outside of Logan in Wellsville, Utah. Lori Gordon and Dawn Kreakie have been named the judges for the competition. The USU Western team are six-time regional champions. The new USU Equine Education Center covers 26 acres and features a 150’ x 300’ indoor arena facility is surrounded by a bridle path that will allow users to enjoy one of the most beautiful locations in Utah. Learn about their team here.

Eight regions will be represented at each Semi-Final. The top-two individual Western riders from each region’s championship show and the high-point team from each region will compete at the Semi-Finals.
From each of the three Semi-Finals, the top four riders in each individual division, plus the top three teams overall will advance to the IHSA National Championship show to be held at the New York State Fair Coliseum in Syracuse.

Click here to download the regional team distribution and more information about the Western Semi-Finals events.

Learn more about the NRHA here.

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) welcomes men and women of all riding levels and offers individual and team competition in hunter seat equitation, Western horsemanship and reining at more than 400 member colleges and universities. Membership in IHSA means that college students can participate at horse shows regardless of their experience or financial status. Students compete at eight levels from beginner through advanced with suitable, provided horses, eliminating the expense of horse ownership. Founded in 1967 by Bob Cacchione, it is the oldest and largest intercollegiate equestrian organization with 10,000 members in 47 states and Canada. IHSA college and university team participation is represented through a variety of programs including varsity athletics, academic departments and club sports. IHSA offers valuable hands-on experience and professional development in multiple facets of the equine industry. Many IHSA teams participate in service projects, giving back to their communities. Through the IHSA, students enhance their college experience and develop the tools that help to build successful careers.

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