IHSA Media Interns

Aspiring journalists land the chance to cover the road to the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Championships.

Intercollegiate Horse Show Association
January 15, 2013


IHSA media interns were selected based upon their creativity, ability to network among regions, and willingness to serve as a representative of IHSA as a whole.

The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association will herald the 40the edition of its IHSA National Championships May 2-5 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, through the voices of its student riders. An inaugural team of IHSA media interns, representing colleges nationwide, will report from their respective qualifying roads to IHSA regional and zone championships and culminate in one intern being selected for the ultimate reporting assignment: Harrisburg and the oldest national college riding championships in America.

What makes an IHSA media intern? Meet this outstanding team of aspiring journalists and communication majors:

Addie Davis, from Vashon, Washington, is a senior agriculture media and communication major at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. She enjoys all media but is passionate about video and video production. The western captain of the WTAMU equestrian team represented IHSA in the inaugural AQHA Collegiate Horsemanship Challenge at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show, and ranked fourth nationally in open horsemanship at the 2012 IHSA National Championships. In 2011, Addie was part of the AQHA World Championship Show Horse Judging Team for WTAMU. Coach Amanda Ricketson says, “Addie’s charismatic and energetic personality, unparalleled work ethic and willingness to put the needs of others first make her a superb representative of WTAMU and IHSA.”

Peyton Callanan is a junior at Georgia Southern University majoring in communications arts with a minor in public relations. She is a member of the hunter seat team for the Georgia Southern equestrian team and for the last two years has been the team's barn manager. She works at Evermore Farms as a feeder and as a reporter for The George-Anne, Georgia Southern University's school paper, and was the 2012 recipient of the IHSA Jon Conyers Memorial Scholarship.

Alexa Dixon is a Dartmouth College sophomore and rides intermediate flat/fences, starting the 2012-2013 season as the IHSA high-point rider at two consecutive opening shows. The Islamorada, Florida, native graduated from Keystone National High School and is concentrating her studies within the social sciences.

Monica DePaul is a sophomore at Pennsylvania State and has been riding and competing since she was 5 years old.  She is vice president and captain of the Penn State Berks equestrian team, and her personal pony, Phoebe, is used in IHSA regional competitions, making every show, she says, “that much more enjoyable.”  She tied for reserve high-point rider at her first IHSA show, and in December 2012 was honored with an invitation to the IHSA Zone 2 Holiday Invitational. Monica says, “IHSA has definitely impacted my riding career and I look forward to continuing this journey.”

Contributing alum writer Michelle Geise attended the University of Scranton and graduated in 2010 after four undergraduate years showing hunter seat and attaining the IHSA open division ranking. She was an equestrian team captain for two years and continues to ride in the alumni division for IHSA Zone 3 Region 4. Since graduating, she has been an occupational therapist working at an outpatient pediatric facility in New Jersey.

Madison Harris is a senior at Berry College and rides hunter seat for the Berry College equestrian team. The business management major has held a captain’s position for three years as the team’s equestrian historian and has created, and maintains, her own photography business.  After completing her degree, she aims to work for an equestrian organization and, hopefully, for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Alexandra Kemp-Thompson, from Ottawa, Ontario, is a senior at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in business, specializing in human resources, marketing and international organizations, with a minor in French and communications. After recovering from shoulder surgery as a junior in November 2011, she finished the 2012 IHSA spring show season as the top-ranked United States Equestrian Federation/Cacchione Cup rider for Zone 6 Region 5, and won open equitation titles at the IHSA Zone 6 Championships.  At the 2012 IHSA Nationals, she ranked seventh overall in open equitation over fences.  Now a senior, she hopes to finish her college riding career strong –  both individually and as a team – with her fellow lady Griffins.

Emily Kowalchik is a senior at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she is pursuing a degree in marketing/applied economics and management, and is in her second year as co-captain of its IHSA hunter seat equestrian team. She represents her IHSA team on the Cornell Student Athletic Advisory Committee, working to unite athletes from other varsity sports teams through community outreach.  Between semesters, she rides and shows with David Beisel Stables in Goshen, Ohio.

Emily Logan is a senior at Oregon State University studying speech communication, with aspirations of a master’s degree in broadcast journalism. She has been riding horses – English and western – for a decade and is in her second year on her OSU’s IHSA hunter seat team. She also competes in pageants through the Miss America Organization, with hopes of one day becoming Miss America.

Nicole Mandracchia has ridden for over a decade and is a working student at James and Robin Fairclough’s Top Brass Farm, in Newton, New Jersey, assisting with the farm’s 25 driving and jumping horses. She grooms and shows at major horse shows on the East Coast. She attends Centenary College and is the senior captain of its IHSA team, where she has competed in the open division for four years. She will graduate in May 2013 with an equine studies degree with a concentration in communications.

Kelly McEvoy
, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, is a senior at Virginia Tech with a major in communication/public relations and concentrations in marketing and event planning, and plans to return to the Philadelphia area after graduation. She began riding at age 7 and calls it her “greatest passion ever since.”  She competes on the Virginia Tech Equestrian hunter seat equitation team in the novice flat division:  “We have great team members, horses and coaches and I am excited to finish out my fourth show season this spring.”

Clara Tate graduated from Piedmont High School in Northern California, where she played varsity basketball for four years and rode horses recreationally.  A senior at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, majoring in psychology with a minor in anthropology, Clara has ridden under Hunter Seat Coach C.J. Law on the MHC equestrian team for three years. She spent last year studying abroad at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and traveling Europe.  After working for a summer at a public relations firm in San Francisco, she realized it was a field she wanted to pursue as a career, and plans to obtain an MBA and work in public relations and marketing.

“With 37 regions in the IHSA, there is a lot happening across the country,” said Kelly Francfort, chair of the IHSA marketing committee and coach of the Rutgers University equestrian team. “The IHSA regional media intern will assist the regional president or official regional scorekeeper in passing on results from our regular season and regional competitions, and sharing the stories behind our horses, riders, coaches and volunteers.”

IHSA media interns were selected based upon their creativity, ability to network among regions, and willingness to serve as a representative of IHSA as a whole. IHSA will offer one intern the additional experience of serving the 2013 IHSA National Championships as its official media intern, with the opportunity to work with IHSA media liaison, L. A. Pomeroy, and national media representatives.

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, junior varsity and/or varsity programs. Learn more at www.ihsainc.com, and connect with more than 7,800 student riders and coaches on Facebook and Twitter @IHSAinc.