Local Equestrian Earns National Honors Out of the Saddle

Local Equestrian Earns National Honors Out of the Saddle

July 27, 2020

Fifteen-year-old Ian McFarlin, a sophomore at Saint John Paul II Catholic High School, expressed an interest in riding horses just three short years ago.  Coming to the sport a little later than most, but with great enthusiasm and talent, Ian has moved up the ranks of the Hunter/Jumper discipline quickly.  While his riding skills continue to improve and earn him many awards and ribbons in the show ring, he has also poured himself into the many facets of the horse world and has eagerly participated in multiple programs available to all riders. Ian had an impressive year wrapping up 2019 with two National awards based on the quality of this young man.

Ian learned to ride and continues his riding education at local equestrian center, Cavallo Farms.  His trainers have been impressed with his drive and dedication to the sport and every horse he feels honored to ride and interact with.  “Ian is always ready to learn more and get involved in anything that will increase his knowledge of the horse and this sport.” Explains trainer Janet Cawley, one of the owners of Cavallo Farms.   She continues: “We encourage all of our riders to take advantage of the various programs available to everyone, and Ian always goes for it.”

Ian joined the Tallahassee Riding Academy, an Interscholastic Equestrian Association (www.rideiea.org) team open to all middle and high school riders in our area.  Through his passionate involvement, his work ethic, and his unwavering support of his fellow teammates; Ian was nominated for and won the IEA National Sportsmanship Award.  The IEA, in conjunction with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, awards this annually and the recipient receives a $1000 scholarship and a lifetime membership in the IEA.

Ian is also a member of the United States Hunter Jumper Association.  This is an affiliate organization of the United States Equestrian Federation which is the sports National Governing Body.  Membership in the USHJA ranges from a free Outreach Membership to a membership that allows riders to compete on a National level. The USHJA offers many opportunities for riders of all levels and ages.  Ian took full advantage by participating in the Emerging Athletes Program and the Horsemanship Quiz Challenge where he helped his stable win the Stable Challenge as well as qualified to compete at the HQC National Finals in Findlay, Ohio this past November.  And to top off the year he was awarded the USHJA Youth Leadership Award at the Annual meeting held in Denver, Colorado in December.  This award was created to identify potential future leaders while recognizing the achievements of youth.  Ian won a Charles Owen riding helmet and a three-year USHJA Active Membership.

My involvement with horses and equestrian competitions has had a monumental impact on all areas of my life. Working with horses has taught me humility and the value of sacrifice,” said McFarlin. “I find myself humbled every day by the willingness of my incredible equine partners to share this journey with me and to teach me. This sport has given me passion, drive, focus and ambition and has helped me to discover the path for my future.”

“There are so many ways to be involved with horses in the Tallahassee and surrounding area.  Ian McFarlin has taken advantage of just a few of them with great result! “remarked trainer, Amy Center.  “We are very proud of his dedication and desire to learn so much about these wonderful animals!”