Local Equestrian Competes at the National Finals for IEA

Local Equestrian Competes at the National Finals for IEA

July 27, 2020

Hayden Center, a local student qualified to compete at the IEA National Hunt Seat Finals held in Syracuse, New York; April 20-22, 2018.  The event was held at the Toyota Coliseum on the New York State Fairgrounds.  Horses were provided by area Universities, riding academies, and local training stables.  Riders draw an unfamiliar horse, and with little to no schooling, compete in both jumping and flat classes.

The Interscholastic Equestrian Association is an organization that promotes Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage competition for any student in grades 6-12.  Since no horse ownership is necessary, riders of all levels and from all backgrounds are able to compete on an even playing field.  The IEA opens the sport of riding to everyone across the country and makes National competition and recognition available and more affordable to all.

Riders compete during the regular season from September through January across the country.  Post season competition allows qualified riders to compete in Regional, Zone and finally National Finals.  Riders qualify for each level by winning enough points throughout the regular season and then placing in the top of their classes in each post season competition.  Riders competing at this year’s National Finals represented 162 teams from across the country.  There are 10 Zones across the Nation where 10,933 Hunt Seat riders are members of 1,451 teams.

Hayden Center, a member of the FSUS/Maclay Equestrian Team, and a 7th grader at Florida High, was the only rider from our area to qualify and compete at the IEA National Finals this year.  She bested nearly 1500 riders across the Nation in her division, Future Novice, to compete at IEA Nationals in the Future Novice on the Flat class.  Eighteen riders in her class competed in two heats on day 1 of the Finals.  Eight were called back for the finals class to be held on day 2.  Hayden not only made the call back but went on to place 4th in the finals.

Hayden is in her second year competing in IEA.  She rode on the Tallahassee Riding Academy team her sixth grade year, a team open to all students in middle and high school in the Tallahassee and surrounding area.  She competed through Zone Finals that year but missed the opportunity to compete at finals.  This year marked the first year that Florida High has had a team.  Combined with the Maclay school while both teams are growing, students from both schools found great camaraderie training and competing together.   

Hayden is excited to work towards Nationals again this coming competition year and so are all of her teammates on both the Tallahassee Riding Academy and the FSUS/Maclay Equestrian Team.  They will all celebrate a year end banquet to celebrate all of their successes this month.  Awards presentations will  be made, students recognized for their achievements, and fun will be had by all family and friends as we look forward to another year.

IEA competition is open to all middle school and high school riders.  There are levels for all riders to compete in once they have the basics of horseback riding down.  For more information about IEA, visit www.rideiea.org.  For more information about joining a local IEA team or learning to ride, contact cavallofarms@comcast.net.