IHSA National Finals: May 1

Western events kick of Day 2 of the 2015 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Finals in Massachusetts.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

The IHSA Parade of Teams brings all riders from both discplines into the ring at the same time. (Credit: Journal)

The annual Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Finals kicked off April 30, with hunt seat events. College-aged equestrians and their teammates from around the United States and Canada descended on the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, Massachusetts to compete in hunter, horsemanship and reining classes.

Western events started mid-day on May 1, with the first team event, AQHA open reining.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior, Kallie Kayton, cinched the win, putting her team on the leader board early in the weekend.

"This was my fourth and final team reining ride," she said, "I wanted to enjoy the last ride and I went into the pen hoping it was a good one."

A good one it was aboard "Tari," owned by Karen Black. The pair earned 144.5.

"Tari was an awesome horse to ride," she said.

The individual open western horsemanship class produced a sweet result, with Emily Honey from Oregon State University winning the class. The senior, riding "Chester," was shocked at the win.

"I really didn't think we deserved it," she said. "Our pattern was rough, though our rail work was awesome. Drawing Chester was a real treat. I've never ridden a real pleasure horse in IHSA competition before, usually we ride reining horses in the horsemanship classes."

Also on May 1, Berry College sophomore Mariel Wrench claimed the win in the final western event, AQHA Novice horsemanship.

“I had real nice rail work, but 'Shorty Talls,' the horse, scared me a little bit in the pattern because he was giving me a tough time with some of the maneuvers” she said, “I kept calm and worked with him to finish well.”

Wrench’s win places Berry College in a three-way tie with the University of Findlay and West Texas A&M for second place in the overall team standings.

A fifth-place finish by Molly Gruener in AQHA Novice horsemanship bolstered the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s lead heading into May 2, the third day of competition.

In IHSA competition, riders don't get any warm-up time before riding their pattern. They randomly draw a horse, mount up and head into the show pen. It takes confidence as much as it requires skill to succeed.

"Pete (McAlister of Indiana) and I are excited to judge such a prestigious event," said Marilyn Randall, an AQHA judge from Montana. "There is such strength in the IHSA program in developing riders to continue in a professional career."

"To have coaches like Clark Bradley and Carla Wennberg, both who have been named AQHA horseman and horsewoman of the year speaks volumes to have them coaching our riders," concluded Bob Cacchione, IHSA founder. “They are the backbone of intercollegiate riding."

Journal Coverage of the 2015 IHSA National Finals

  • May 3 – Berry College of Georgia is the western national champion team at the 2015 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Finals.
  • May 2 – Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia named the 2015 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association English Team Collegiate Cup Champions.
  • May 1 – Western events kick of Day 2 of the 2015 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association National Finals in Massachusetts.