IHSA Announces Western Riders for AQHA Horsemanship Challenge

2013 IHSA AQHA High Point Rider, Austin Griffith, riding Little Bill. Photo credits: Rich Ormanowski.

Fairfield, CT — June 18, 2013 – The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association is pleased to announce eight IHSA Western Horsemanship riders have been selected to participate in the 2013 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Horsemanship Challenge, November 20-21, during the AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The IHSA riders selected include the 2013 IHSA National Championships’ AQHA High Point Rider (Austin Griffith, Ohio State University) and reserve AQHA High Point Rider (Ashley Winters, University of Findlay, who continued her season despite the grief of losing her AQHA show horse to cancer), and a member of the 2013 IHSA National Championships High Point Western Team, Julia Roberts, of West Texas A&M University, who was also selected in 2012 but was competing in collegiate judging (she and her WTAMU team went on to become reserve champions). Emily Honey, of Oregon State University, represents the second (Elizabeth Whitman, 2012) consecutive time OSU riders have earned a slot in the AQHA Horsemanship Challenge.

The complete list of IHSA riders selected for the AQHA Horsemanship Challenge is as follows:

Julia Roberts, West Texas A&M University
Austin Griffith, Ohio State University
Douglas Mohr, Ball State University
Emily Honey, Oregon State University
Alissa Frederick, Black Hawk College
Rebecca Strunk, Clemson University
Ashley Winters, University of Findlay
Kodi Anderson, North Central Texas College

Austin Griffith, a business and marketing major at Ohio State, cited both hard work and the IHSA as integral to the path leading him to OKC. The newly-minted AQHA High Point Rider from the 2013 IHSA National Championships is also a two-time (2008, 2009) winner at AQHA Congress.

“I was so excited when I received the invitation,” says the IHSA National’s 2013 reserve AQHA High Point Rider, Ashley Winters, a freshman majoring in Environmental Safety and Occupational Health and Western Equestrian Studies at The University of Findlay. “During the show season I lost my AQHA show horse to cancer. This was an extremely hard time for me and the only way to cope was to keep riding. I knew the open level was going to be really tough and worked really hard, practicing five times a week for reining and horsemanship. The Findlay IHSA Team has wonderful coaches. At Nationals, their advice was to go out there and show them what a freshman can do.” Now she gets her chance to show them at AQHA Worlds.

For Douglas Mohr, who will represent Ball State, it’s a dream come true. “Ever since hearing of the AQHA Collegiate Challenge, it’s been a dream to be selected and represent my university, and now that dream is a reality. It’s a huge honor to be one of eight IHSA riders picked, and I am very grateful. To be surrounded by the best collegiate riders will be a humbling and rewarding experience.” Mohr will pursue a Master’s in Occupational Therapy, having just earned his Bachelor’s in Exercise Science.

Rebecca Strunk is also among the IHSA 8
Rebecca Strunk is also among the IHSA 8

Animal and Veterinary Science major, Rebecca Strunk (’15), adds, “I was honestly shocked to be invited to this prestigious event. It makes all the long hours of practice worth it. It’s an honor to represent Clemson University and hope to do so to the best of my abilities.”

The eight collegiate equestrian athletes representing their educational institutions in the Challenge were selected based on their 2012-13 individual statistics for horsemanship. Preliminary AQHA Horsemanship Challenge competition will take place Wednesday, November 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the AQHA Horsemanship Challenge finals will be held the evening of November 21. Three IHSA alternates have also been identified, pending availability of the original eight candidates.

About IHSA

The IHSA mission is to promote competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional and national levels. IHSA is based on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of financial status or riding level. More than 400 educational institutions in the U.S. and parts of Canada have teams belonging to IHSA, including student academic clubs, JV, and/or varsity programs. Learn more at www.ihsainc.com and connect with more than 6,800 student riders and coaches on Facebook and Twitter @IHSAinc.

IHSA Media Liaison:
L. A. Pomeroy
(413) 586-6121
PomeroyLA@aol.com
www.ihsainc.com

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