April 2016 - Interscholastic Equestrian Association Update

Zone 10 IEA Finals send high school and middle school riders to Kentucky for this month’s Nationals.

by Anna Propp, Woodside Equestrian Team rider

The Interscholastic Equestrian Association is a very special program that brings High School and Middle School riders from all over the country to share their love and passion for horses and horseback riding.

Riders in class Future Intermediate waiting for the results. Photo: Sarit Mintz

IEA focuses on classical hunt seat equitation for over fences and on the flat. IEA has four available classes for high school riders; Varsity Open (2’6” fences), Junior Varsity Intermediate (2’ fences), Junior Varsity Novice (cross-rail fences), and Beginner Walk/ Trot/Canter (flat class). As for middle school, IEA offers classes such as Future Intermediate (2’ fences), Future Novice (cross-rail fences), and Future Beginner Walk/Trot/Canter (flat class). IEA is separated into 10 zones across the country. Zone 10 includes the riders and teams in California, Hawaii, and Nevada.

After falling off twice, Lindsay Jamieson (Red Barn High School Team), the brave rider was happy that her rough ride paid off. Photo: Sarit Mintz

All riders and teams work hard all year to qualify for Zone Finals and then hopefully qualify for National Finals, taking place at the Kentucky Horse Park April 20-24. As for the riders and teams in Zone 10, they competed in the zone finals on March 19-20 in Santa Rosa.

Congratulations to Woodside and Monte Vista Christian high school teams and Monte Vista Christian School and Pebble Beach Equestrian Center middle school teams for qualifying for the Nationals, and to the many Zone 10 individuals who will head to Kentucky for the Nationals as well.

There are so many talented riders and teams that attended Zone 10 finals. We could not have done it without the dozens of volunteers, parents and coaches who made the weekend possible and who made the weekend successful.

If you are interested in joining IEA, all riders in grades 6-12 are welcome. For more information visit www.rideiea.org.

To provide a feel for IEA riding, we asked a number of Zone 10 finals participants about their experience.

- Sydney Shelby (MVCS Middle School Team, Individual Future Intermediate o/f Champion, Team Future Intermediate flat Reserve Champion)



Why did you choose to be part of the IEA program?

“It looked like a lot of fun. A lot of my friends from my barn were doing it, so I thought why not? What really intrigued me about the program is that it gives riders the opportunity to go to different places and barns around the country and ride a lot of different horses, which is always fun!”

- Sydney Shelby (MVCS Middle School Team, Individual Future Intermediate o/f Champion, Team Future Intermediate flat Reserve Champion)

What have you learned from being apart of the IEA program?

“In IEA, at most shows, they offer judges comments at the end of the show day. So we all line up at the judges booth at the end of the day so we can see what the judge saw in us and how we can do better next time. These comments not only improve my riding in IEA, but it also helps me with my ‘normal’ riding at home.”

- Chynna Walker (Elvenstar High School Team)

Tabatha Gourvenec riding Darla in her Team Novice over fences class. Gourvenec placed 2nd in this class. Photo: Kierra Flaherty


What are your goals for IEA? How have your goals changed since you first started doing IEA?

Grace Jeffery riding Tango in her Team Junior Varsity Intermediate over fences class. Jeffery placed 1st in this class. Photo: Sarit Mintz

“Honestly, I just want to stay on. I get very nervous for shows so it’s harder for me to focus on what I’m actually doing while I’m riding. But I believe that through the past few years of competing in IEA my show nerves have gotten a lot better. I’m a much more confident and strong rider. And because of that my bigger goals are now much more reachable.”

- Tabatha Gourvenec (Woodside High School Equestrian Team, Individual Novice o/f Reserve Champion, Team Novice flat Champion)

Have you learned anything from being an IEA parent?

“On show days, you have to wake up super early. Which isn’t so nice, but it’s all worth it in the end knowing that you child is having fun and being a good teammate. As for the actual horse part for IEA, I’m a rider myself, so I don’t learn too much, because I’m not riding the horse, but when Tabby (Tabatha Gourvenec) gets comments from the judge it’s interesting to see how they judge all the riders.”

- Magali Gourvenec (mother of Tabatha Gourvenec)

How does it feel knowing that you are now qualified for Nationals and all your work has paid off?

“It truly is the best feeling knowing that all the hard training days have paid off! Part of me is relieved because I have worked so hard to come this far. I am extremely excited and a little nervous for Nationals, but I know that all I can do now is to ride my best and have fun!”

- Grace Jeffery (Woodside High School Equestrian Team, Individual Junior Varsity Intermediate o/f Reserve Champion, Team Junior Varsity o/f Champion)