Cavallo’s Champion Circle
Ian McFarlin and Cavallo riders win national honors!
Our Trip to IEA Nationals:
The Interscholastic Equestrian Association, providing team and individual equestrian competition to middle and high school students, just celebrated its 20th year during its National Championship. Riders and Teams compete up to five times during the regular season and if qualified, continue to post-season competition. Riders and Teams move from Region Finals to Zone Finals and then onto National Finals if they place at the top of their classes along the way. All of this competition takes place on unfamiliar horses that they draw to compete on with little to no schooling in order to learn their new mounts. Cavallo Farms has been the home of three IEA teams for the past 12 years. The primary team is the Tallahassee Riding Academy which is open to any 4th grader up, in, and around the Tallahassee area. The FSUS Equestrian Team is open to any 4th grader up attending Florida High. And the Maclay Equestrian Team (currently not enough members) is open to any 4th grader up attending the Maclay School. Between our two current teams, we had 14 riders, and the Tallahassee Riding Academy Middle School Team qualified for Region Finals. Only the first-place winner moved forward from there. We traveled to Tryon, NC with 7 riders and the Tallahassee Riding Academy Middle School Team to compete at Zone 4 Finals. From the top three high schoolers and the top two middle schoolers moved on to Nationals. Every one of our riders at Zone Finals received a ribbon in each of their classes. Only two riders qualified for Nationals, the middle school team missed the cut by 1 point and many of the riders were just one place out of the qualifying criteria.
Ian McFarlin, a senior at JPII, and a team captain for the Tallahassee Riding Academy qualified to attend Nationals in the Open Varsity Flat class. Maddie Hegler, a 6th grader at FSUS, qualified to attend Nationals in the Future Beginner Flat class. We traveled to Harrisburg, PA with Ian, Maddie, and FSUS Team Captain Hayden Center, a junior at FSUS. Ian and Maddie competed, and Hayden was there to cheer them on and act as a warmup rider for the competition. The flat classes at Nationals have 18 competitors. They are divided into 2 heats of 9 riders. The judges then choose 8 to come back for the Finals. Maddie Hegler made the call back in the Future Beginner Flat Class and received 2nd place in the Finals.
Ian McFarlin made the call back in the Varsity Open Flat Class and received 1st place in the Finals. This win qualified him to compete in the Open Varsity Championship Class which is both jumping and flat. Ian competed on a different horse in each phase and finished in 5th place. Ian was also awarded the National Finals show Rider Sportsmanship Award. He spent his time, when not competing, helping the show and the horse providers. His actions as well as his support of all riders catapulted him to the top of the official’s choice for the Sportsmanship Award. And finally, he won 2nd place in the National Horsemanship Test. Ian McFarlin was awarded over $3500 in scholarship funds! A great way to end his IEA career. Ian will be moving on to the University of Florida where he is sure to be a star on their Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Team. It was a successful and fun weekend of competition at the IEA Nationals. The kids were all a great help to the horse show, the horses, and each other. And the top ribbons were icing on the cake! We will be celebrating these accomplishments and the accomplishments of all of the team members at a Team banquet on May 16th!