Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championships Going On Now

For many Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) competitors, years of sacrifice and dedication have all led up to this event: the IHSA Nationals. The 2018 IHSA Nationals, held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, begin Thursday, May 3rd and conclude on Sunday, May 6th. Riders from all over the country have gathered to show off their skills in the saddle with aspirations of bringing home the coveted title of IHSA National Champion.

Photo Courtesy of IHSA

The Format

With both Western and English disciplines, IHSA competition offers a multitude of events for riders of all levels to compete in. Unlike most horse shows, IHSA competitors do not bring their own horses to compete on. Upon arrival at the show, riders have the opportunity to watch the horses eligible for competition warm up. Riders will draw their mount at random and the first time they sit on their horse is upon entering the show ring.

The English phases of the competition offer eight divisions for riders to compete in:

  • Walk-Trot Equitation
  • Walk-Trot-Canter Equitation
  • Novice Equitation on the Flat
  • Novice Equitation Over Fences
  • Intermediate Equitation on the Flat
  • Intermediate Equitation Over Fences
  • Open Equitation on the Flat
  • Open Equitation Over Fences

To qualify for IHSA Nationals, competitors have to accumulate a set amount of points in their division during the show season. Once they achieve those points, riders then compete at IHSA Regionals where the top two entries in each division advance onto IHSA Zones. Again, the top two riders at Zones have the opportunity to move forward and compete at the national level. The Zones are mirrored after the ones designated by USEF and each zone can have up to, but no more than five Regions.

Not only can riders compete at IHSA Nationals as individuals, but they can also qualify as a team. Throughout the season, each college designates a point rider per class to represent the team and earn points towards the Team Championship. The team with the highest points in their region will be awarded Regional Champion. Each Regional Champion college will compete at IHSA Zones for the chance to earn the honors of Zone Champions. The teams who bring home first and second at Zones are eligible to compete at IHSA Nationals.

Another class in the IHSA line-up is the USEF/Cacchione Cup, named in honor of IHSA founder Bob Cacchione’s parents, Marty and Anne Cacchione. The top three Regional High Point Riders from each Zone USEF/Cacchione Cup Qualifying class, who must also have qualified for Regionals in Open Equitation over fences, have the opportunity to compete at Nationals. The USEF/Cacchione Cup is a two-phase class comprised of an over fences and a flat phase at the Open level height of 2’9″-3’3″.

Rounding out the IHSA competition is also the Alumni division in which riders who formerly competed for a college’s IHSA team are allowed to return and continue to compete with IHSA as alumni. Riders of all ages have the opportunity to qualify for Nationals and represent their alma mater in the Alumni Hunter Seat Equitation on the Flat or Alumni Hunter Seat Equitation Over Fences portion of the division.

For a complete breakdown of IHSA rules and regulations, click HERE.

The Judges

The names of the judges for the 2018 Nationals were released last week, and they boast impressive resumes both as judges and competitors. The first of the hunt seat judges is USHJA certified trainer, clinician, event organizer, commentator, course designer and USEF “R” judge, Diane Carney. A three-time recipient of the USHJA President’s Distinguished Service Award for her involvement in USHJA national programs, Diane is looked upon highly in the hunter-jumper world. Diane has previously judged the 2016 ASPCA/Maclay Medal Finals, WEF, HITS Thermal, Blehnheim, USEF Pony Finals and many others.

The second judge for the hunt seat division is Tony Sgarlata. Tony is a well-known and respected USEF “R” judge, rider, trainer, coach and clinician throughout the US and Canada. His judging resume includes the International Hunter Futurity, World Champion Hunter Rider events and USHJA hunter derbies at shows such as WEF, Tryon, Lake Placid, Old Salem and more.

More details on these judges can be found through this LINK.

The Schedule and Competitors

Competition for the 2018 IHSA Nationals begins with Individual Open Equitation Over Fences this morning, Thursday, May 3rd at 8:30 AM and sports a jam-packed schedule for the remainder of the weekend.

Riders from all across the country have gathered in Harrisburg for the opportunity to earn that coveted title of Champion. The list of Teams competing for the hunt seat National Team Championship are as follows:

  • Mount Holyoke College, Zone 1
  • Boston University, Zone 1
  • Skidmore College, Zone 2
  • St. Lawrence University, Zone 2
  • Centenary University, Zone 3
  • Penn State University, Zone 3
  • St. Andrews University, Zone 4
  • Virginia Tech, Zone 4
  • Savannah College of Art and Design, Zone 5
  • College of Charleston, Zone 5
  • University of Findlay, Zone 6
  • Otterbein University, Zone 6
  • West Texas A&M University, Zone 7
  • Purdue University, Zone 7
  • Stanford University, Zone 8
  • Colorado State University, Zone 8

Consecutive three-time champions, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), are the ones to watch this year as they fight to maintain their reign as champion. Former winners of the Collegiate Cup competing this year include Centenary College, Skidmore College, and Mount Holyoke College.

A list of complete individual entries can be found here:

Individual Discipline Entries

USEF/ Cacchione Cup Entries

Alumni Entries

Follow Along

As always, Jumper Nation will keep you up to date with the movers and shakers at IHSA Nationals but if you are wanting to keep tabs on the competition first-hand then you are in luck! EqSportsNet is offering live streaming of the 2018 National Championships HERE.

Go IHSA and Go Jumping!