IHSA 2022 National Championship Horse Show Wrap-Up

Great Rides and Big Scores Abound on Day One of the 2022 IHSA National Championship Horse Show

The 2022 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) kicked off the National Championship Horse Show, held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, with great rides and big scores.

The first class of the day was Individual Open Equitation Over Fences. The 17-rider division rode over a flowing course of eight jumps with options at fences two and three. As the first rider on course, Arielle LoGiudice (Morganville, New Jersey) from Centenary University set the pace and score to beat of an 85. The rest of the field took notice.

Julianna Empie, a junior on the Penn State Equestrian Team, took home the national championship with a first-round score of 85.5 aboard Big Shot, a 17.1-hand chestnut gelding provided by Centenary University.

“Going into the first round, I had a couple of questions,” Empie said. “Seeing Arielle, the first ride in the ring did a very tight inside turn to the last jump. I drew Big Shot, who’s a fairly large horse, I was kind of on the fence as to whether I wanted to do that. I just decided I wanted to hug the turn, go a little wider and not do that inside turn to the last jump to stay fairly neat. I think it worked out pretty well and I was happy with my round.”


USEF/Cacchione Cup Competition Begins with Impressive Rides Ranch Riding Debuts at IHSA National Championship Horse Show

 Day two of the 2022 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championship Horse Show included competitive rounds in the USEF/Cacchione Cup and the debut of Ranch Riding.

The USEF/Cacchione Cup Over Fences class kicked off day two of competition. Twenty-four horse-and-rider combinations navigated the course designed by William Yeager. The course of 10 fences, starting with a bending seven-stride line, provided riders with options at fence one and fence five. Flowing approaches and turns gave riders the opportunity to showcase their mount and riding abilities. Conservative rides dominated the division and were rewarded with high scores. Pace and track were key to a smooth and successful round.

“My goal was to make a straightforward, inviting course that required the riders to have to think and make some decisions when they were on course,” Yeager said. “I think it rode well. Just because there are options available, doesn’t always mean you have to take them. I gave them a lot of time to that last jump and it gave them an opportunity to allow for a nice gap because that was the biggest jump on course as well. Most of them succeeded with that.”


Ollie and Debbie Griffith Presented IHSA’s Pioneer Award at IHSA National Championship Horse Show

 The Parade of Teams is a tradition played out at every IHSA National Championship Horse Show. This year’s parade included a special presentation to honor two people who have dedicated their lives to the IHSA. The Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to IHSA by bringing new vision, action and results to the association. Ollie and Debbie Griffith of the Ohio State University fit those criteria, and on the occasion of their retirement from coaching, the IHSA leadership honored them with this very special award.


Judging the USEF/Cacchione Cup | A Conversation with the 2022 IHSA Nationals Judges Todd Karn and Tom Brennan

We thought this was a really good group of riders and horses. The top rider was seven points ahead going in,” said judge Todd Karn. “We felt that she deserved to stay there. She has a lot of style, and everybody rode really well. The horses were great and the tests sort of unfolded the way we thought it would. It was good.”

 “I agree,” said Tom Brennan. “We purposefully didn’t let them walk the course ahead of time. I thought they all chose different options that suited them and their horse. One girl even made a circle to start, which I thought was really smart. She went through the bushes to make sure there was no issue there. The people that cantered directly to the first jump also did it beautifully. I thought they all made use of the freedom we gave them to show off what they thought they could or couldn’t do. The girl who won (Juliana Empie) appeared to be on the greenest horse. She did a great job with him.”


Emory and Henry College Successfully Defends their Collegiate Cup Championship

 Emory and Henry College earned the Collegiate Cup, defending their title from the 2019 IHSA National Championship Horse Show, before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of two postseasons. The Emory and Henry Equestrian Team, led by coach Heather Richardson, topped all the IHSA hunter seat teams, earning 42 points and the Collegiate Cup championship. The Miami University Equestrian Team, coached by Heather Pinnick earned 39 points for the reserve championship.


Kelly Francfort Presented Lifetime Achievement Award

 IHSA Vice President Kelly Francfort was awarded the IHSA Lifetime Achievement Award during the IHSA board meeting in January 2020. However, because there has been no postseason since 2019, Francfort had yet to be officially presented with the honor.

“It was wonderful to be recognized,” Francfort said. “I was grateful that they were able to put it together and allowed me to have a moment in the ring. It meant a lot. It’s an acknowledgment for the work that I very thankfully put in, but it means that your contemporaries and some amazing professionals acknowledge that commitment. That means a lot. I’m not a big-time professional. I don’t have a competitive resume. My resume is the time I’ve given to the organization. So, it’s humbling to be in that group.”


Third Day Of The 2022 IHSA National Championship Horse Show Presented USEF/Cacchione Cup And Collegiate Cup Awards

 Competition Continues for Reining, Ranch Riding Awards Presented

 USEF/Cacchione Cup competition culminated with the Penn State University junior Julianna Empie (Chester Springs, Pennsylvania) taking home the coveted championship title. Empie is the first Penn State Equestrian team member to be crowned the USEF/Cacchione Cup Champion in 44 years when Luanne Richards rode to the championship in 1978.

Empie rode spectacularly all week. She was a one-half point behind the top score of 88 Lilly French (Cleveland, Ohio) from Miami University of Ohio. Empie impressed the judges in the flat phase aboard Maverick (Savannah College of Art and Design) and scored a 93 to move her into the top slot going into today’s work-off round.


AQHA High-Point Rider Award Presented on Final Day of IHSA National Championship Horse Show

 The Western teams shined on the final day of competition at the 2022 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championship Horse Show. The IHSA/American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) High-Point Rider Award and the NRHA/NSBA National Championship Team were announced to a cheering crowd.

The IHSA/AQHA High-Point Rider class began Saturday with the horsemanship phase of 19 riders split into two sections. Each rider executed a walk, jog and lope along the rail for the judges. One at a time, they performed the horsemanship pattern which included backing, gait extensions at the jog and lope, and a simple change of lead before returning to the lineup.


From the Judges Perspective | Gretchen Mathes and Allen Mitchels

 “The show was amazing, and I think that the kids were amazing,” said Gretchen Mathes. “The horse providers were so appreciated, and I thought it was a fairly uniform group. I was really impressed with how everything came out.”

“The IHSA is making an unbelievably large contribution to the horse industry,” Allen Mitchels added. “I don’t dislike any of the other programs, but they serve different functions and you look at the quality of the riders here, and then you see a lot of them are starting as beginners. They’re out there in a walk-jog, and then you get to the top level and you’re going, ‘Wow, this is pretty big time.’ It’s just a wonderful program. I’m happy to be here.”


Black Hawk College Rides to IHSA/NSBA Team National Championship

 The Black Hawk College (Galva, Illinois) team won their Semi-Finals hosted at their facility and came into Nationals looking good. They battled it out with 10-time national championships Ohio State University but in the end, The Black Hawk team edged out the Ohio State powerhouse team by two points to earn the first-ever IHSA team championship by a community college.

“What I learned from Bob Cacchione is this is the first time that a two-year school has won the Western Team Championship,” said Becca Irish, coach of the NRHA/NSBA Team National Champions.


The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) welcomes all genders at all riding levels and offers individual and team competition in hunter seat equitation, Western horsemanship and reining at more than 400 member colleges and universities. Membership in IHSA means that college students can participate in horse shows regardless of their experience or financial status. Students compete from beginner through advanced with suitable, provided horses, eliminating the expense of horse ownership.

Founded in 1967 by Bob Cacchione, it is the oldest and largest intercollegiate equestrian organization with 10,000 members in 47 states and Canada. IHSA college and university team participation is represented through a variety of programs, including varsity athletics, academic departments and club sports. IHSA offers valuable hands-on experience and professional development in multiple facets of the equine industry. Many IHSA teams participate in service projects, giving back to their communities. Through the IHSA, students enhance their college experience and develop the tools that help build successful careers.

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

High-res photos available.

Carrie Wirth
EQ Media
(612) 209-0310