Photo Credit: Kellsie Mullikin ’16 Virginia Tech IHSA Team
Choosing a college can be difficult for most anyone, but especially for those who still want to ride. Just where do you want to spend the next four years of your life? Where does riding fit in?
The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) provides a great opportunity for you to ride and compete while you are in college.
Here is a statement from their website describing who they are:
IHSA provides collegiate riders of all skills the opportunity to compete individually and as teams in equestrian competition. It was founded on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her riding ability or financial status.
But what exactly is IHSA?
Let me start by giving you a brief overview of how the equitation competitions work. This is a very simple outline, so please visit their website for a list of full qualifications.
IHSA is unique in that students do not bring their own horses to the show. Instead, the host college provides all the horses. Riders travel to the show’s location, which is hosted by a college within the team’s region. At the show riders then participate in a draw/lottery to determine who they will ride. After drawing a horse, the rider will mount, adjust their stirrups, and enter the ring. Riders are not allowed to warm up. The classes are equitation classes, and riders will be judged on the flat or over fences.
The types of classes:
There are 9 levels in IHSA: three jumping levels (Open, Intermediate and Novice) and six flat levels (Open, Intermediate, Novice, Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter, Beginning Walk-Trot-Canter and Walk-Trot). Each level has specific qualifications to ensure that riders are competing against others with a similar skill set and show experience.
Open Over Fences: Riders who have won 10 blue ribbons in classes 3’6” or higher in a recognized competition. (Doesn’t matter if it was hunter, equitation, jumpers, etc.)
Open Flat: Riders who have won 10 hunter seat equitation classes on the flat at recognized competitions. (This does not include hunter U/S)
Intermediate Over Fences: Riders who have won 6 blue ribbons in classes 3’, 3’3”, 3’6” or higher in a recognized competition. (Doesn’t matter if it was hunter, equitation, jumpers, etc.)
Intermediate Flat: Riders who have won 5 hunter seat equitation classes on the flat at recognized competitions. (This does not include hunter U/S)
Novice Over Fences: Riders who have competed in any recognized competition over 3’. (If you have ever competed at an A show at 3’ or higher you are Novice)
Novice Flat: Riders who have competed in a recognized USEF/USEA competition. (If you have ever competed at an A show)
2B. Advanced Walk-Trot-Canter: Riders who have competed in ANY type of competition higher than 18”. (Doesn’t matter if it is a fun show, local show, etc., if you competed over 18” you are ADV WTC)
2A. Beginning Walk-Trot-Canter: Riders who have not competed in a mounted competition which required them to jump over 18”. (Same division as ADV WTC, just the first phase of it)
1. Walk-Trot: Riders who have less than 24 weeks of professional experience, and never competed in ANY competition that required them to canter or lope.
FREE VIDEO: 2012 IHSA National Championship Experience
Take an inside look at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, behind the scenes at the 2012 National Championships, the Collegiate students that participated, The judges, and the people that make the IHSA “Genius.”
Running Time: 8 minutes and 45 seconds