Intercollegiate Horse Show Association
In keeping with traditional equestrian competition, in which men and women compete together on equal ground, IHSA equestrian competition is a co-ed sport and does not discriminate based on gender.
A Typical IHSA Horse Show
Horse shows start with fences classes and end with flat classes. Each rider will randomly draw a horse, which he or she will have to navigate around a course or show on the flat. This is like extreme catch riding; no warm up or schooling is allowed, and prior to walking into the arena, the rider is only allowed extremely light contact on the horse's mouth for safety reasons. The rider is not allowed to put the horse on the bit or school him in any way (this includes using a crop, or using one's leg as an aid) prior to walking into the arena. However, riders are allowed to watch the host school warm up the horses prior to the start of the show. Guest schools are also provided with horse description lists which can give an idea of how each horse must be ridden. Entries can be limited depending on the facilities and quantity of horses the host school has access to. In order to create equal footing between large and small schools, each school secretly selects one point rider per division, and that rider's points alone will count towards the team's total points. Riders who are not selected as point riders are still important, as they can steal points from other teams' point riders. Individual riders can also gain points to point up from their division and qualify for the Regional horse show at the end of the year.
The End of the Season
At the end of the year, each team's total points from every horse show are counted up, and the team with the most points is named Regional Champion. Individual riders who have gained 35 points in their respective divisions and have therefore pointed up into the next division qualify for the Regional horse show. These individual riders compete for first or second place, which will send them to Zone Finals. The Regional Championship Team will also go on to Zones, and at that horse show the top two teams and top two riders from each Individual Class will go on to IHSA Nationals. The National horse show therefore consists of Team Classes as well as Individual Classes.
For more information on IHSA, please visit the association's website at www.ihsainc.org