IHSA 40th Anniversary National Championships Western Wrap Up

University of Findlay Repeats AQHA Team Victory and Julia Roshelli Earns the AQHA High-Point Western Rider Prize

The 2019 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) hosted their National Championships at the New York State Fairgrounds Exposition Center in Syracuse. It is the IHSA’s 40th anniversary of Western division competition and the Western and reining national championship classes were held May 3-5. The University of Findlay earned the AQHA Western Team title for the second consecutive year. The Findlay Oilers finished with an eight-point lead over the reserve champion University of Wisconsin–River Falls and 10 points over third-place finisher Ohio State University. Findlay’s Julia Roshelli took the podium as the 2019 AQHA High-Point Western Rider.

 FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

 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. Today, 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.”

This year, the IHSA celebrates 40 years of Western divisions. A presentation began when a hitch 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.

 SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS

JULIA ROSHELLI NABS THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE NRHA INDIVIDUAL OPEN REINING

Julia Roshelli, a senior at the University of Findlay from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, missed her graduation to compete at IHSA Nationals and it paid off. Roshelli was the 2018 national champion in the Individual Advanced Horsemanship and this year she took home the NRHA Individual Open Reining Championship.

“It was absolutely awesome,” she said. “The horse’s name was Prince from Morrisville State College. I didn't know him but the horse holder gave me a lot of information and it was super helpful. I'd seen him go yesterday so I was excited to draw him. He just ran his heart out in there and he gave me everything he had. It was so much fun.”

University of Findlay Head Coach Spencer Zimmerman credits fellow coach Clark Bradley for the strong reining program they have developed at the school.

“He’s been working with Jules and the rest of our reiners,” Zimmerman said. He’s there every time they need a practice. We are forever grateful for him.”

Next week, Roshelli starts a job with a top reining professional facility, Brandon Brant Performance Horses.

CARLA WENNBERG RECOGNIZED

In special award presentations. Carla Wennberg, coach of the Saint Andrews University team and valued member of the board, was presented with the IHSA Lifetime Achievement award.

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS

The University of Findlay successfully defended their 2018 AQHA Western Team title and took home the trophy for the second consecutive year with 49 points. 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 had their graduation day yesterday. 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 starting 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 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.

KRISTA FROM UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-RIVER FALLS CLAIMS THE AQHA TEAM ADVANCED WESTERN HORSEMANSHIP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE

Krista Schoenfelder, a University of Wisconsin-River Falls sophomore from Rochester, Minnesota, was thrilled with her draw for the AQHA Team Advanced class. Honey, owned by the University of Findlay, stepped up for Schoenfelder.

“She extends, she was a good draw,” she said. “That's all I wanted.”

Schoenfelder said that her coach Janie Huot and her team captain Danielle Paulson were instrumental in getting her mentally prepared for Nationals.

‘Don't break, don't use a lot of leg and hit your marks,’ was what Huot told Schoenfelder before she entered the ring.

FINDLAY’S JAIME KITTLE FROM PULLS OFF THE WIN IN INDIVIDUAL ADVANCED WESTERN HORSEMANSHIP

Last year, Jamie Kittle, a sophomore at the University of Findlay from Novinger, Missouri, was third in Individual Novice. This year, he earned the IHSA national championship of the Individual Advanced Horsemanship division aboard Buddy, provided by Brandy Sloan. He credits his success to the quality of coaching he’s received at Findlay.

“We have several professionals and instructors that do this every day,” Kittle said. “They're all very personable. Anytime during the day when they aren't teaching class, they'll ride with you. We have a huge program and we have so many good horses. You really are working in the industry even though you're still going to school.”

Kittle just received his associate’s degree from the University of Findlay and he will move to Collinsville, Texas to work for CR Bradley, a much-admired coach at the University of Findlay.

IHSA NATIONALS JUDGE BOB KAIL WEIGHS IN

“The neatest thing about this event to me is that it reaches the whole way down to kids that may not ever get a chance to ride a horse,” said respected judge Bob Kail, who officiated the Western divisions alongside Kim Meyers. “It's not just a horse show, it's a career-oriented event to bring people together, to be around horses. It's a great competition.”

Kail explained that at an AQHA event or an NRHA event they judge the horse. For the IHSA, they judge the riders on how well they present those horses. They rarely ride the same horse and have no opportunity to warm those horses up or to know what they're like.

“They go in there cold turkey,” he said. “That's a tough thing to do.”

Kail said that the IHSA format helps to develop riders. “I’ve trained horses for 35-40 years,” he said. “Every time I rode a horse, it taught me something.”

TOP HORSES RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION

Honey, owned by the University of Findlay, was awarded the SmartPak Most Popular Western Horse and the Triple Crown High Point Horse award went to Chester (also known as Cheddar Biscuit and Ham Sandwich), from SUNY Oswego.

SPECIAL AWARDS

The sportsmanship awards went to rider Anna Woolsey from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, coach Amanda Jones, also from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, and volunteer Nicole Dempsey from SUNY Oswego.

The Youth Equestrian Development Association (YEDA) award went to Violet Romanak from Miami University of Ohio.

The IHSA thanks all their generous sponsors, the competitors, teams, coaches, volunteers and horses for a successful National Championship Horse Show. We look forward to the 2020 season and next year's Nationals returning to Syracuse, New York.

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

High-res photos available upon request.

Media Contact:
Carrie Wirth
EQ Media
(612) 209-0310
carrie@EQmedia.agency

 

 

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