California Riding Magazine • September, 2009

Back to School
San Diego Scholastic Equestrian League expecting a super sophomore season.

by Debi Gibney, SDSEL president

School’s back in session and it’s time for riders and parents to start preparing their presentation to coaches and advisors in an effort to get their equestrian teams approved and ready to participate in the 2010 SDSEL season. I am happy to help guide new teams through the school approval process, and I’ll work with you each step of the way until the team is formed. We have several new high school teams ready to go for the 2010 season and we look forward to seeing them on the show grounds.

New for 2010, the Southern California Professional Horseshow Association will host SDSEL western classes and our high school teams are looking forward to welcoming their western classmates, who definitely offer a bit of flash and dazzle. The dressage component of SDSEL will have a stronger presence this year with Jennifer Cromwell, of PrePferd Equestrian in Murrieta, in negotiations with the organizers of the Dressage Getaway show in Indio.

In an effort to expand our knowledge of collegiate riding, my daughter Ally Gibney and her friend and fellow high school equestrian Olivia Allison traveled to Nashville, TN this past spring to work at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships. Ally likes the IHSA because there are over 350 college teams that participate from all over the country. She really likes the fact that students at all levels have the opportunity to ride in college. “The IHSA staff includes top rated coaches from schools like Cornell and Dartmouth,” Ally reports. “IHSA founder Bob Cacchione is so much fun! He has incredible energy and passion for equestrian athletes and they were all the nicest people to work with. We learned so much and we want to share that with our riding friends.”

Ally noticed misconceptions about the NCAA and IHSA and the shortage of solid information for Southern California riders. In an effort to bridge that gap, the IHSA coaches from Southern California schools such as Cal Poly-Pomona, USC, UCLA and our home town equestrian teams USD and UCSD, will host collegiate riding clinics designed to prepare riders for the collegiate level and provide counseling for students, parents and athletic directors on how to present your riding abilities to prospective colleges and college coaches. Look for SDSEL officials and IHSA riders at upcoming horse shows for more information.

Please contact me, Debi Gibney, to start your high school team and for news on shows and clinics. You can reach me at