Tag Archives: Western

Veterans and Mustangs Are Perfect Match at WDAA World Championship Show

Jimmy Welch and Patti Gruber performing a Color Guard with mustangs Little Red Hot and OWH Pearl Harbor. Photo Courtesy of the Western Dressage Association of America and Don Stine Photography.

Marine Corps veteran Jimmy Welch (Woodstock, Ill.) and dressage trainer Patti Gruber (Woodstock, Ill.) competed with two mustangs at this year’s Western Dressage Association of America’s (WDAA) World Championship Show. These World Show first-timers also paid tribute to the flag and all veterans with a Color Guard every evening before the freestyle tests.

Welch and Gruber brought Gruber’s five-year-old mustang gelding OWH Pearl Harbor and her eight-year-old mustang mare Little Red Hot from Welch’s organization, Operation Wild Horse (OWH), to demonstrate the powerful impact a combination of Western dressage and mustangs can have in the healing process of both mind and body for veterans. OWH focuses on engaging veterans and their families with domesticated mustangs in a therapeutic setting. There the veterans are taught about horse care, horsemanship, and riding skills through Western dressage.

In his first ever national championship, Welch went on to compete Little Red Hot successfully in several tests over the course the competition, earning a top-10 placing in the Introductory Test 3 Amateur division.

Welch and Gruber shared why the seemingly unlikely combination of a mustang, a veteran, and Western dressage are a perfect match in supporting American veterans.

Why are mustangs and veterans a good fit?

Welch: “Considering that these animals lived in the wild, there are a lot of parallels between American military veterans and mustangs. The biggest one being fight or flight. These mustangs are very hyper-vigilant, very aware, and so are America’s veterans. It’s what we’re trained to do when we serve. And that’s for safety. Truly, working with the mustangs is like working with a mirror and being able to see yourself for the first time. What we feel we’re doing and what the horse shows us we’re doing is undeniably one of the most therapeutic things that I’ve ever experienced. I love everything there is to love about a mustang. They lived in the wild. Anything that can live in the wild and then learn to be domesticated and take care of someone like myself … there’s nothing not to like about it.

“We believe there is a special bond between veterans and something that has lived in the wild and had to survive. We have a new mustang coming to us that has claw marks from a cougar or a mountain lion, and there’s an Army Sergeant Major that did 22 years in the military that has already been working with her with a colleague of Patti’s. We don’t even have her yet and he’s working with her.”

Gruber: “We don’t know what his draw is to her yet—he’s relatively new to the program—so we don’t know what he sees in her, but he met her at a fundraiser and that was it for him. He’s texting me about her blankets for winter, asking if we need to pick out a color for her. You know, he’s a tough Army veteran who has two sons and this is like his daughter. It’s amazing.”

Where do you get the mustangs?

Gruber: “Our mustangs come from different sources. Some have come through the Mustang Heritage Foundation, we have a couple that have come through private homes, including veterans or the families of veterans, and we also get them through a rescue network that gets them out of auctions and kill pens.

“So our motto has become “horses helping veterans helping horses,” because as much as the horses do for [the veterans], we also do some rescue work to get these mustangs into better situations. We get the mustangs into forever homes where we never have to worry about where they’ll end up. They get all the food that they want, and they come in at night to their stalls where they can just relax and chill. They have their own space and they aren’t fending for their lives or wondering if they’re going to end up in a bad situation. The ones that come to us never have to worry, because they have a forever home with us.

“Mustangs are not seen as the most valuable horses; a lot of them get overlooked for what they can do. A mustang can naturally jump six feet from a standstill … and do, regularly! They make great mounts, whether it’s for dressage or cowboy mounted shooting or barrel racing, and they’re amazing endurance horses because, naturally, they travel 20 to 30 miles a day to find enough food and water when they’re out in the wild.”

Welch: “Our veterans are very, very big into the mustang rescue aspect. There’s more draw for our rescue mustangs than anything, because a lot of us felt like we needed to be rescued. One of our key things [at OWH] is to ensure that we have enough funds to have horse treats in the veteran aisle so that whenever veterans come, they can interact with their horse. That’s so important, because that is the relationship-building aspect of it.

“I had maybe been on a horse once or twice [before OWH.] Patti approached me with this idea for OWH, and in my first humbling experience in all of this I said, “Honestly, I don’t think that horses and veterans have anything of value to offer each other, but I’m willing to listen.” She just had a completely different approach to it. Then I met her mustang, Padre, and in a barn full of 30 domestic horses, there was just something so special about him. I just connected with him.”

How does Western dressage aid the veterans’ healing process?

Gruber: “Dressage itself is the oldest form of military riding, dating all the way back to the Knights of the Round Table and the battle maneuvers those horses used to do, so it has a direct link to the military already. The structure of Western dressage gives the veterans we work with something to work towards, goals to work towards. ‘Can I move up the levels?’ is the same idea as ‘Can I get more rank when I’m in the military?’ So there are direct correlations on multiple levels.

“And who doesn’t want to be a cowboy? Who doesn’t want to throw on cowboy boots and jeans and go get on a horse? It’s just cool. We’ve had veterans tell us being on a horse is the closest thing they’ve had to being in the military, because you’re in control but at any moment you could be out of control.”

Welch: “Western dressage is a perfect fit for us because the most important thing to us is safety. Safety of the rider, safety of the horse, and safety of the spectator. That safety is built through a foundation of the basic principles of riding, dressage. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right, so Western dressage being the foundation of what we do is creating that undeniable safety in working with mustangs.

“Doing the tests in Western dressage reminds me a lot of marching. It reminds me of being aware of your position, your form, all of these things very disciplined and being top-notch.”

How does having the WDAA’s support advance your mission of helping veterans and mustangs?

Welch: “Our relationship with the WDAA is fairly new, but it has been the most welcoming relationship, one of the top welcoming relationships we’ve had in the horse world. It was very fitting. I can’t say enough about the decisions the WDAA Board of Directors have made to immediately put into play a veteran membership and a veteran lifetime membership, which comes with a buckle. They have opened their doors to us. I now serve as Veteran Liaison to their board, which means that the board is hearing proposals for how to include veterans, what we wanted to do, and so on, directly from the Operation Wild Horse veterans that I relay back to the board.

“In a short amount of time, they have done so much for us and for veterans already. That’s why we’re here. We want to be part of organizations that want to take care of veterans. WDAA is leading the way in what will be a very successful veteran program, and I hope other breeds and disciplines will model off of that.”

Gruber: “WDAA is doing great work and leading the way in integrating veterans into the Western dressage community and competitions. The other areas of the sport and their organizations could absolutely open their doors and open their membership to encourage more veterans to get involved with it. I don’t think they need to have specific classes for them, but [they can] award and acknowledge their achievement when they are out there in the ring at a show.”

The WDAA recently announced that the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Grant has been awarded to OWH for their youth outreach program. Through the program, children of veterans and active duty military learn horsemanship and riding skills utilizing Western dressage. Additionally, OWH works with active duty military under the age of 22 and Poolees, individuals under the age of 22 who are going into the military. This program concentrates on the therapeutic attributes of horse riding, ground work, and the comradery that accompanies the equestrian community atmosphere.

This no fee annual program has been in place since February 2017, but participants were limited due to the shortage of equipment. The $1,500 grant will allow OWH to implement the curriculum on a larger scale as proper equipment can be purchased to provide the safest atmosphere possible for participants ages 2-21.

by Ashley Swift
© 2019 United States Equestrian Federation

Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Extends Dates and Adds Prize Money

Madison Nirenstein and No Doubt Im Trouble, 2018 Amateur Showmanship at Halter circuit champions. Photo: Cody Parmenter.

Tampa, Fla. – Oct. 4, 2019 – Save the date! Back for its next chapter, the popular Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit will return to the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds better than ever thanks to the growing popularity of the event. Due to an increase in exhibitor interest, the horse show has added an extra day of competition, with the 2019 installment beginning Friday, December 27 and concluding Tuesday, Dec. 31, and the prize money pot has increased to $50,000 shared between both the Gold Coast and Gulf Coast Quarter Horse Circuits. Over the course of five days of competition in five rings, Quarter Horses and Paints of multiple disciplines will demonstrate their skills to celebrate the excellence and versatility of the breeds.

In 2018, the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit was again named one of the top 10 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) shows in the country, this time successfully operating as the sixth largest AQHA show in the nation. Approved by the AQHA, American Paint Horse Association (APHA), and National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA), the competition is consistently one of the highest-ranked events of its caliber, and attracts exhibitors from coast to coast. The 2018 installment saw competitors from as far away as New Hampshire, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, and Colorado.

Under the direction and show management services of An Equine Production, the 2018 Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit showcased more than 11,000 total entries in 2018, up from the 2017 event. Of that incredible total, 8,450 horses represented AQHA entries, while the remainder consisted of non-AQHA exhibitors. In 2019, the show is excited to feature leveled HUS and WP to enhance its new schedule, plus new jackpots paid on circuit points. No additional entry fee is required, and each class will be paid after the Circuit and Reserve Circuit award winners are determined.

In addition to serving as the ideal setting to welcome in the new year, exhibitors can expect a number of much-anticipated improvements highlighted by some of the best all-weather footing in the country, as well as extensive and well-planned drainage systems installed in all of the outdoor rings at the Florida State Fairgrounds to ensure perfect footing regardless of the conditions. The state-of-the-art facility further offers ample riding and lunging spaces.

With five days of competition under numerous judges, the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit presents exhibitors with opportunities to earn valuable year-end points and exciting prizes in the beautiful Florida weather. There is also a multitude of activities outside of the show as the Florida State Fairgrounds sits in close proximity to all of the major theme parks and provides easy access to various beach and fishing sites.

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit flgoldcoastcircuit.com.

Media Contact: Elaine Wessel
(561) 753-3389 | ew@phelpsmediagroup.com

IHSA Founder Bob Cacchione to Retire from Executive Director Position

Bob Cacchione shakes Lizzy Traband’s hand during Nationals at Harrisburg in 2018. Photo by Madison Dempster.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sept. 3, 2019 – Robert E. “Bob” Cacchione, the charismatic leader of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA), will retire from the executive director position of the organization he founded. Cacchione announced his decision in a letter to the IHSA board of directors, effective Sept. 1. He will continue to promote and support the IHSA and will assume the role of founder emeritus. Peter Cashman, IHSA second vice president and co-coach of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s equestrian team, will assume the role of interim executive director until a formal board election will take place June 2020.

“It’s been a great ride,” Cacchione said. “It’s been my passion and my life’s work. Never did I dream that it would be what it is today. I want to thank all the dedicated coaches and past and current board members for working to build this great organization. It has been an honor. The IHSA is in capable hands and will continue to grow and thrive. I’ll still be around to advise and help in any way I can.”

Cacchione has made a profound impact on the equestrian world. As many as 250,000 men and women have participated in the IHSA since 1967 when he founded the organization as an 18-year-old student at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. Cacchione’s brainchild was born out of his determination to find a way to ride while in college without the financial support of his parents. He and mentor and adviser Jack Fritz, a renowned horseman active in the governance of several equestrian disciplines, developed the prototype of IHSA competition, which included catch-riding appropriate horses, drawn out of a hat, that were supplied by host schools.

Launched with just two colleges competing in hunter seat equitation, the IHSA was praised for its innovative format and quickly caught on. In 1979 the Western divisions premiered at the IHSA National Championship Horse Show. In 1999, IHSA Inc. was established as a nonprofit organization.

The organization now has over 400 participating colleges and universities and 10,000 members. IHSA is comprised of 39 regions in 8 eight zones in 47 states and Canada. Because the IHSA offers all levels of competition, from beginner through advanced, and offers college students a way to learn to how to ride, it makes a significant impact on the grassroots development of the equestrian sports.

IHSA members make up 10 percent of the membership of the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) and the IHSA is credited for being the single greatest source of new members to the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA).

Some of the most notable riders in show jumping and the Western disciplines competed in the IHSA during their college years. Four-time Olympian and two-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden competed for Southern Seminary and won the Cacchione Cup in 1984. Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde won the Cacchione Cup in 1986 while he attended Tufts University.

As executive director for 52 years, Cacchione has proudly led the IHSA, shaking the hands of every competitor at the IHSA National Championship Horse Show and working tirelessly alongside board members who have become lifelong friends. With his devotion to the IHSA and the number of lives it has impacted, Cacchione is regularly recognized and acknowledged during his travels by people from all walks of life who once participated in the IHSA.

“From September to May, I traveled to a show every weekend,” he said. “I’ve loved it, but I look forward to less travel and more time with family.”

Cacchione has been recognized for his commitment to college riding with the IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award, the USHJA Presidents Distinguished Service Award, US Equestrian/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Centenary College, and the American Horse Publications Equine Industry Vision Award. He also serves as vice-chairman of the Gentlemen’s Committee of the National Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Albion College to Host CPI Spotlight for College-Bound Equestrian Students

Photo courtesy of Albion College.

ALBION, Mich. – June 25, 2019 – For college-bound equestrians exploring a world-class liberal arts education, the College Preparatory Invitational (CPI) will produce a CPI Spotlight event Sept. 27-29 at Albion College in Albion, Michigan. The event will combine campus tours and hunter seat equestrian activities. It will be an opportunity for prospective students to experience Albion College firsthand.

Albion College was named one of The Wall Street Journal‘s “Top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges.” With 49 majors, concentrations and pre-professional programs, Albion gives students the flexibility to forge their own paths while gaining an understanding of the world. Albion College offers varsity competition in Western and hunter seat and dressage competition on the Albion dressage club team at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center. Riders at Albion College come from all backgrounds and regions of the country.

“Albion College student-equestrians get a broad-based education in our classrooms and equally broad-based lessons in horsemanship and riding at the Held Center,” said Randi Heathman, Albion equestrian recruitment coordinator. “The result of this education can be seen in our many successful alumni, who graduate with problem-solving and leadership skills that serve them in a variety of career fields.”

Apply now for CPI spotlight at Albion College.

The varsity equestrian competition experience at Albion is not limited to experienced riders. Albion welcomes men and women whether they are experienced equestrians or are interested in learning to ride.

The weekend will provide student athletes information about Albion College’s many liberal arts academic programs. An admissions representative will be available for questions.

In addition to a student-led campus tour, students will experience the Albion College riding program and the opportunity to ride three times. A riding lesson Saturday kicks off the weekend. A short clinic is scheduled for Sunday morning and a mock collegiate-format horse show will be held Sunday afternoon. The event will provide students with a taste of what it is like to catch ride. Participants will ride Albion College horses and they will work with the coaches.

At the barn, attendees will learn additional horsemanship skills with Albion College students and coaches. Topics will include basic care such as grooming, wrapping, points of the horse, and parts of the saddle and bridle and more.

For more information, go to collegeprepinvitational.com.

University of Findlay Repeats AQHA Team National Championship Title Honors

Julia Roshelli and Louise, owned by University of Findlay. Photo by alcookphoto.com.

Syracuse, N.Y. — May 5, 2018 — The final day of the 2019 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championships featured the conclusion of the Western divisions. This year, the IHSA is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Western Divisions. Young men and women from across North America qualified to compete at the Expo Center at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The University of Findlay successfully defended their 2018 title and took home the trophy for the second consecutive year with 49 points. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls was named reserve champion with 41 points and Ohio State University was a close third with 39 points.

Spencer Zimmerman, who became the Findlay Oilers’ head coach for the 2017-2018 season, is now two-for-two.

“We have a lot of the same riders that we had last year, but it’s a horse show so anything can happen,” Zimmerman said. “They came in with their A-game. They had the mindset and the technique and the tools. It was a lot of fun to see.”

Three Findlay team seniors just had their graduation day. The team will start back up in August and the riders will have to earn their spots on the team for next year.

“We won’t have a whole brand-new team, I’m sure, but they’ll all be fighting for their spot on the team again,” he said.

This is the University of Findlay’s seventh IHSA AQHA Team National Championship.

UNIVERSITY OF FINDLAY’S JULIA ROSHELLI SWEEPS HER DIVISIONS AND EARNS THE AQHA HIGH POINT RIDER AWARD AND AQHA TEAM OPEN CHAMPION

Julia Roshelli won every class she qualified for at Nationals. She earned the championship honors in Individual Open Reining, AQHA Team Open Horsemanship, and the AQHA High Point Rider. Ironically, the University of Findlay senior’s photo graced this year’s IHSA 40th Anniversary of the Western Divisions graphic.

“It’s a little unreal,” Roshelli said. “This has just been a huge goal of mine, you know, for all four years.”

This was Roshelli’s first full year competing in the open division.
“From day one I was going for this and I’ve worked hard and my coaches have helped me along the way. It’s a great way to end my senior year.”

Roshelli rode Louise, owned by the University of Findlay, in the AQHA High Point Rider Reining Phase and Sarah from Alfred University in the AQHA Open Horsemanship, which helped to seal the deal for the Findlay team.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

USEF/Cacchione Cup Featured during Second Day of IHSA National Championships

Adam Edgar in Cacchione Cup Over Fences Phase. Photo by EQ Media.

Western Divisions Celebrate 40th Anniversary

Syracuse, N.Y. — May 3, 2019 — The 2019 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championships resumed for the second day of action at the Expo Center at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. The first two phases of the coveted USEF/Cacchione Cup, the Equitation Over Fences and the Equitation on the Flat, took place. The Western riders and horses also began competition, featuring AQHA Team Open Reining and Individual Open Western Horsemanship. All teams participated in the colorful Parade of Teams.

ADAM EDGAR CURRENTLY IN THE LEAD OF USEF/CACCHIONE CUP FIRST TWO PHASES
In the USEF/Cacchione Cup Equitation Over Fences, Adam Edgar, a sophomore from Lee, Virginia and member of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) team, produced the leading round aboard Vinny, owned by Miami University of Ohio that earned a score of 85. On the Flat, the judges awarded him an 86 aboard Sydney, owned by Penn State University.

“That horse (Sydney) was a little bit slimmer and more my type,” Edgar said. “He really made me feel beautiful. He was a great one – super comfortable; super sweet. All the horses have been so well behaved; they are such good horses.”

Edgar shared that no matter the outcome of the USEF/Cacchione Cup, they’ve worked hard and he feels that he has made his coaches proud.

“It’s taken a while for me to finally be very confident in my riding,” Edgar said. “That’s really been a game changer and it’s nice to go home at the end of the day and not be beating myself up. I feel great.”

Ashley Henry, head coach of the SCAD team, describes Edgar as a person who can go in the ring with multiple things to focus on.

“Honestly, he’s one of the best students that I’ve had that works well under pressure,” she said. “He’s been a very busy bee. A lot of people get distracted with too much information, but he absorbs it and keeps working.”

This year, the IHSA celebrates 40 years of Western divisions. A presentation began when a team of six Belgian draft horses led by the Morrisville State College lapped the arena for a demonstration with Bob Cacchione aboard. Then, AQHA judging professional Joe Carter and Ohio State coach Ollie Griffith joined Cacchione to speak to the audience about the longtime relationship with the AQHA. Concluding the presentation, Cacchione presented a plaque to AQHA representatives.

UNIVERSITY OF FINDLAY TAKES A WIN FOR THE TEAM IN AQHA TEAM OPEN REINING
Morgan Knerr, a sophomore at University of Findlay from Plain City, Ohio and the 2018 NRHA Open Reining Champion, nabbed the first notch to help her team defend their 2018 national championship. She drew one of eight horses provided by the University of Findlay, Louise.

“She was a sweetheart,” Knerr said about Louise. “I rode her at Semis a few weeks ago and so she was really great. I loved her. The pattern went really well. I was really happy with it.”

The University of Findlay Head Coach Spencer Zimmerman was pleased with the outcome. “This venue does not look anything like our arena,” he said. “It’s a little bit more modern, a little bit bigger. We’ve just been soaking it up. They’re all excited to show here.

Anna Woolsey, a 19-year-old freshman from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, earned the reserve championship. She and her parents, Morgan and Chris, made the drive from Oklahoma to Syracuse and spent some time at Niagara Falls before Nationals.

“I had a little bit of tough luck in the Individual Reining class but I pulled it together for the team reining and our team made it,” she said about qualifying to get to Nationals. According to Woolsey it is the first time Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College has qualified for Nationals.

KENDALL WOELLMER WINS INDIVIDUAL OPEN WESTERN HORSEMANSHIP AND TEAM NOVICE OVER FENCES
Kendall Woellmer is a junior from West Texas A&M University who competes in both the Western and hunter seat division and excels. Thursday, Woellmer won the championship of the Team Novice Equitation. She traded in her breeches and boots for chaps and a cowboy hat and bested the field of national qualifiers in the Individual Open Western Horsemanship. She was accompanied by West Texas A&M Assistant Coach Selena Finn. Head Coach Amanda Love cheered at home as the team Facetimed with her. Love is expecting her first child within the month.

“I drew Chester and his nickname is Ham Sandwich (provided by SUNY Oswego),” she said. “He was perfect – a dream come true.”

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

IHSA National Championship in Syracuse – USEF Network Live Stream Details

Photo by Madison Dempster.

Syracuse, N.Y. – April 30, 2019 – The 2019 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championship will be held in Syracuse, New York, May 2-5 at the Expo Center at the New York State Fairgrounds. For those unable to attend in person, USEF Network will capture every minute of the action via the live stream. USEF Network is providing the broadcast access free with a fan membership.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
The IHSA is recruiting volunteers for Nationals. Come be a part of the collegiate enthusiasm and help produce the best event ever in the beautiful New York State Expo Center.

COLLEGE AND CAREER FAIR
In partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension Madison County, the IHSA will hold a free college and career program during IHSA Nationals on Saturday, May 4 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The event will provide an opportunity for youth and families to explore a myriad of educational and career options within the equine industry.

A presentation on college selection options will begin the activities for the day followed by an opportunity to interact with various college coaches, students, and career professionals. The program concludes with a career panel discussion.

Click here for a list of participating colleges.

About IHSA Nationals

IHSA Nationals will feature 450 men and women from across the U.S. and Canada competing in hunter seat and Western in all levels in divisions from Walk-Trot through Open. The riders have competed throughout the season to qualify and will vie for team, individual, alumni championships and the coveted USEF/Cacchione Cup and the AQHA Western High Point Rider national final. In 2019, the IHSA is celebrating 40 years of the Western divisions.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Oregon State, Ohio State, and Findlay Take Top Team Spots at IHSA Western Semi-Finals

The 2018 National Champion University of Findlay team. Photo courtesy of University of Findlay.

Fairfield, Conn. – March 20, 2019 – The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) held its Western Semi-Finals, sponsored by the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), March 16-17. Hosting the events were Florida State University (FSU) at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, Utah State University (USU) at their facility at the USU Equine Center in Wellsville, Utah, and University of Findlay at their facility in Findlay, Ohio. IHSA is celebrating its 40th anniversary of the Western divisions this year.

Semi-Finals Hosted by Florida State University
At Semi-Finals hosted at Florida State University the team from the Ohio State University, coached by Ollie and Debbie Griffith, clinched the overall team win with 36 points edging out Berry College with 22. Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, took the third spot earning 16 points. In 2014, the Ohio State team won the national championship. All top-three teams are National Championship-bound.

“The horse show was really well run and the stars were aligned for us,” said Ollie Griffith. “Our riders were ready to go and things just worked out really well and we got paid to what we did. It was nice.”

Griffith said that Erin Bosse, a senior this year, has come really far in the program and contributed to team win by earning the blue ribbon in both the Team Open Horsemanship and Team Reining. Bosse also clinched the win in Individual Open Horsemanship. Second-place finisher Sarah Cooper, from Berry College, will join her to compete at Nationals along with Travis Fortune, from Murray State University, and Matthew Winter, from the University of Florida, who were third and fourth, respectively.

“The way we look at it, there are eight teams we need to try to be better than, and those are the eight that qualified, including the two that followed us,” Griffith said and about the upcoming Nationals in Syracuse. “Many years at Nationals, the teams that don’t win the Semi-Finals step up and play their game.”

In Individual Reining, the judges’ top pick was Ethan Stratford, from the University of Guelph. The second and third place prizes went to Mary Catherine Wade and Jenna Seal, both from Middle Tennessee State. Fourth-place Bosse will compete at IHSA Nationals in both Individual Reining and Open Horsemanship. Lynn Palm, from Ocala, Florida, and Allen Mitchels, from Michigan City, Indiana, officiated at the FSU-hosted event.

Semi-Finals at Utah State University
Utah State University hosted their first-ever Semi-Finals at their Equine Center and live-streamed the event for fans and families across the country. IHSA founder and Executive Director Bob Cacchione participated in impressive opening ceremonies and was on hand to present prizes and greet coaches and riders. Judges Dawn Kreakie from Seville, Ohio and Lori Gordon of Washington, Pennsylvania presided over the event.

The overall Team championship went to the Oregon State University with the reserve championship to University of Wisconsin, River Falls. State University of New York at Morrisville finished third and punched their ticket to Syracuse.

“It was my fourth and final time going to Semi-Finals,” said Racheal Nordby, captain of the Oregon State University team. “It was awesome. I loved their opening ceremony.”

Nordby started as an Open rider and has competed on the team all four years and qualified for Nationals every year. After graduation, she plans to take a year then go on to get her master’s in clinical psychology. She credits her Oregon State coach Dawn Ross for her support through her years on the team.

“She is like a little angel from heaven,” Nordby said about Coach Ross. “She inspires us all to work harder as individuals and as a whole. She’s a very strong leader. She knows how to support us and how to challenge us.”

In the Individual Open Horsemanship at Utah State Semi-Finals, it was déjà vu for Rocky Mountain College’s Codi Uecker who won the for the second consecutive year. She will be joined by second-place finisher Danielle Paulson, from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, at Nationals. Third-place finisher Sarah Beth Felker, from St. Andrews University, and fourth, Christina Mulford, from Northern Kentucky University, will also make the trip to Syracuse.

Jacob Kamm, from the University of Cincinnati, grabbed the win in Individual Reining, with Aubrey Braham, from Slippery Rock University, in second, repeating her results from last year. Caitlyn Davis, from Utah State University, and Kindra Gingerich, from Saint Mary of the Woods College, were third and fourth.

Semi-Finals at University of Findlay
The 2018 IHSA Western National Champion Findlay Oilers hosted a third Semi-Final event. Carolyn Johnson Russell, from Ringgold, Georgia, and Pete McAllister, from Mitchell, Indiana, judged the event. The Findlay team finished in the lead on their home turf, winning five classes and earning 39 points. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln finished in the second and third positions with 23 and 20 points, respectively, in the overall Team competition and will progress to the IHSA National Championships in Syracuse.

“We have a great team that is willing to put in the work – the long nights and early mornings,” said Spencer Zimmerman, head coach of the University of Findlay Western team. “They love being around the horses and the competition and they take their jobs seriously.”

Zimmerman is only in his second year in the position at Findlay and he will lead his team to Syracuse to defend their 2018 championship title.

“Three of our team riders are returning (to compete at Nationals) from last year,” Zimmerman said. “I look forward to seeing them in the pen. But I also look forward to seeing our new riders that haven’t been to Nationals. To take on that challenge, and coach them through those nerves is a lot of fun. I like to try and help them to overcome their obstacles to be successful.”

In the Individual Open Horsemanship division, Matthew Graves, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, owned the day. Arianne Cox, of Texas Tech University, took second place, Kendall Woellmer, from West Texas A&M University, was third, and Carla Carfora, from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, was fourth.

Carfora brought her game to the hotly-contested Individual Reining division, finishing in front. Woellmer scored second. Julia Roshelli, from the University of Findlay, and Cailyn Simonis, of North Central Texas College, had the third and fourth slots to qualify for IHSA National Championship Horse Show in Syracuse.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Kentucky Horse Park Announces Spring Opener Horse Show

Second park-owned event kicks off season April 6-7

LEXINGTON, Ky. (February 26, 2019) — The Kentucky Horse Park is excited to announce the creation of a new horse show, the Spring Opener, which will debut April 6-7.  This show is an unrated, two-day, open level show with English, Hunter classes, and Western pleasure classes. The Spring Opener will offer competitors and their equine partners a wide variety of divisions and classes.

“The Spring Opener is the second event owned and operated by the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Executive Director Laura Prewitt. “Our first event, the Bluegrass Rockin’ Rodeo, continues to gain momentum and aligns with the long-term initiatives set forth in our strategic plan of creating park-owned events. For our show we wanted to create an event which encourages riders who might not normally have the opportunity to show at the Kentucky Horse Park, to participate.”

The Spring Opener will be held at the Park’s covered arena. English classes will be on Saturday and Western classes on Sunday. All breeds of horses and ponies are welcome. Pre-Entry Fee per class is $20 and $25 the day of the show.

For more information about the Spring Opener including sponsorship opportunities, visit www.kyhorsepark.com/springopener.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Races into New Year with Timed and Championship Events

No Bull Grand Slam competitor showing her speed at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. (Photo courtesy of SD Photography)

Jacksonville, FL (January 11, 2019) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center rang in the New Year with a dash for cash that attracted the country’s top barrel racers. The No Bull Grand Slam barrel race was held January 4-6, 2019 and paid out more than $100,000. Entries totaled 1,000 for the weekend-long event.

Teenager Michael Duffie was crowned the Open 1D Champion riding Reclaim Fame. The 13-year-old rider also finished fourth with a second horse, JJ Three Famous Bars. The young rider, who has also won a youth world championship through the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA), outran a field of tough competitors.

“Some of the top barrel racers in country were there,” said Kyle Rictor, who maintained the footing during the show. “Anita Randle won the Grand Slam’s short-go and she is a NBHA World Champion. Brett Monroe finished third. He’s won over $1million in barrel racing.”

This was the third year the No Bull Grand Slam returned to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

“This is a full-service facility with the best staff that we see throughout the year,” said Jamie Cagle, the event secretary.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center staff quickly stowed the barrels and reset the arenas to welcome the Florida Feathered Horse Classic January 11-12, 2019. The show is the longest-running Gypsy Vanner breed show series and has been held at the Jacksonville Equestrian center for eight consecutive years.

“It is a great location, with a nice facility that continues to evolve as the needs of its exhibitors grow,” said Gail Shrine, owner of the Feathered Horse competition series.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center wraps up the first month of the 2019 with another action-packed, timed event — the National Team Roping League Finals scheduled for January 24-27, 2019. More than $500,000 is paid out each year at the finals, which has been held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for 14 straight years.

“We really love having our finals here,” said Katie Smith, No Bull Barrel Race competitor. “There are plenty of stalls and RV hookups to accommodate everyone. The whole facility is top notch; the location is central and great for us.”

For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221