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Interscholastic Equestrian Association Considering Saddle Seat

Cleveland Heights, OH – Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) is investigating the expansion of a Saddle Seat division for the 2010 – 2011. Due to ongoing requests from saddle seat enthusiasts all over the country along with the combined excitement over a new saddle seat association for college riders called the Intercollegiate Saddle Seat Riding Association (ISSRA), have prompted an enthusiastic response from the IEA Board to consider adding saddle seat to its interscholastic offerings. 

According to IEA Executive Director, Roxane Lawrence, "The IEA started in 2002 as a Hunt Seat competition.  We added Western in 2006.  It seems like another few years go by, and it is time to expand again!  We are very excited about the prospect of adding saddle seat.   They have a huge base of support, and we have a dedicated core of trainers that are willing to pull the details together.  I hope that we might be able to have everything in place so that saddle seat memberships can be offered for 2010-2011, but we have lots of work to do to meet that timeline.  I began my own equestrian education as a saddle seat rider, so I would personally LOVE to see this happen!" 

Members of a new saddle seat committee are currently working to create an outline of rules and regulations that would give competition guidelines similar to other IEA offerings.  Classes will be offered for beginner, novice, intermediate and advanced riders, and the competitions will be based on a draw-type format.  Show hosts will provide facilities, horses and equipment so that the riders can draw a horse’s name from a hat, then mount and show.  This format levels the playing field so that riders are judged on their horsemanship skills rather then on the talents of the horse.  It is not necessary to own or lease a horse to enjoy the excitement of showing in IEA.

Recently, Lark René Henry of Bobbin Hollow Equestrian Center, Inc. and IEA Saddle Seat Coordinator "After sending an email blast to fellow Saddle Seat trainers and instructors within the Saddlebred and Morgan world, I was amazed by the immense amount of positive feedback from fellow industry professionals around the country. With our camaraderie and passion we hold for Saddle Seat, I know we will unites, educate, and will successfully incorporate our highly disciplined and classical style of riding into the IEA with no regrets"

IEA also offers a team element to equestrian competitions.  Riders not only compete for their own awards, but also compete as part of a school or barn-affiliated team.  Each team puts forth offensive riders to score points along with defensive riders that beat out other rider points.  At the end of the day, the team with the most points wins the championship title.  Regular shows lead to regional, zone and national competitions.

This year’s IEA National Finals will be April 22-25 at the Georgia Internationals Horse Park in Conyers, GA.  (Host site of the equestrian phase of the 1996 Olympics.)  Students will compete in Hunt Seat and Western competitions where thousands of dollars in prizes and scholarships will be awarded.

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