The IEA Board of Directors and Staff have been extensively reviewing factors and options related to Covid-19 and the remainder of the IEA 2019-2020 season. With much disappointment, we announce all IEA competitions for Hunt Seat, Dressage and Western disciplines are cancelled for the remainder of this competition year, which was originally scheduled to conclude on June 14th.
As always, human and equine welfare are of the utmost importance to IEA and lie at the heart of this difficult decision. The Coronavirus continues to be a health danger ross the Country for all—every age; everywhere. We all should follow the guidelines of our Government and Health officials and because IEA has members in 46 states, the rules vary extensively from state to state. It is expected the Coronavirus guideline variances will widen over the next few months, complicating parent and coach decisions regarding health, travel and expenses. Among other items going into this difficult decision are:
- Riders not able to practice
- Horses not in working condition
- Concerns from horse providers
- College partners shut down since March and mandated through July
- Travel turmoil and cancellations
- Conflicts with other shows once we pass usual calendar season
Roxane Durant, IEA Co-founder and Executive Director stated, “As an organization that is based in community, we must consider the needs of our entire membership base across the country and across disciplines to make our decision that assures the safety and welfare of all IEA members and our equine partners. This was an unbelievably hard decision because it disappoints so many, especially our senior riders. To lessen the setback, we are revising some rules and making changes relative to this decision so current riders have more options for next season. In addition, we plan some special surprises for our riders, including providing a scholarship opportunity for every senior.”
Gary Carpenter, IEA Board Member and National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Commissioner stated, “The NRHA and IEA are affiliated organizations and for many years the IEA has held its Western Finals during the NRHA Derby in June. I agree the IEA needed to make a decision at this time. Currently, we still plan to hold the Derby. Unlike the IEA, our competitors ride and transport their own horses. Of course, come June, we will abide by all Coronavirus guidelines and act accordingly.”
The 2020-2021 IEA show season is scheduled to begin September 1, 2020 with membership opening early May for new and returning members.
Now entering its 19th year, the IEA has over 14,500 members across 46 states riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. The non-profit 501(c)3 IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students in grades 4-12 and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions. Each season, student riders have the opportunity to earn thousands of dollars in scholarships toward their college education through awards in competition and through sportsmanship activities. In 2001, the IEA established the Benevolent Fund to assist riders and coaches in need through program such as the IEA Financial Assistance Program and the IEA Coaches Assistance Grant.
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