IHSA Western Riders Shine at APHA World Championshi

Childhood Friends Nigel Lancaster and Ashton Knerr Take Champion and Reserve Honors

Twelve Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) Western High-Point Open riders took to the world stage in the IHSA Invitational Class at the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) World Championship Horse Show held Sept. 29 in Fort Worth, Texas. Nigel Lancaster from Hilliard, Ohio. came away as Champion after showcasing his skills in both the reining and horsemanship phases.

“The IHSA High Point Rider Versatility Championship was a huge success today just because it gave us a chance to highlight the best of the best that were shortchanged during the 2020 season,” said Amanda Ellis, IHSA Western Committee chair. “Not only did we have great horses for us to sit on that were given to us by the exhibitors here at the World Show, but also the caliber of riding was phenomenal as well.”

Ellis explained that with many member schools in the country not able to horse show right now due to COVID-19, she hopes they were able to watch the live stream and are excited and inspired for the spring.

The class began with each of the 12 riders performing the reining pattern. The judges rewarded consistent riding on two different mounts and scores were tight after the initial round of competition, with the top three spots bringing in scores above 145.00 points. Lancaster and Ashton Knerr from Plain City, Ohio. secured the top two spots with a tied score.

Lancaster rode to duplicate scores of 73.5, aboard Gunnataxya, owned by Deb Oneguard, for a total first-round score of 147.00 points. Knerr piloted Tinselena Spark, to scores of 75.5 and 71.5, tying Lancaster’s score of 147.00. Hart Daniels, hailing from Vaughan, Mississippi, took third place on Starlight Driver, owned by Kelsey Delaplaine, just one point behind with 146.00 points.

Then it was time to switch mounts for the horsemanship phase. Riders showcased their abilities on the flat at the walk, jog and lope both with and without stirrups. Competitors then piloted their mounts through a pattern demonstrating a smooth, effortless ride.

Grand Island, Nebraska native Matthew ‘Matt’ Graves rode to the win in the horsemanship phase. His consistent and polished riding aboard the 17-year-old paint gelding He Thinks He’s Special (Special Invitation x Zippos Gold Model), owned by Ryan Urech, stood out among the field. Travis Fortune from Booneville, Indiana took the second spot with A Krymsun Legacy, owned by Darcie Winiewicz, and Lancaster on Sensational Effects, owned by Amanda Bennet, rounding out the top three.

Knerr and Lancaster, who grew up riding together at Ollie and Debbie Griffith’s Autumn Rose Farm in Delaware, Ohio, rode the reining pattern once more to determine the overall class champion.

“Those two riders have been riding reining horses since they were seven years old and they're best of friends, they live within 15 minutes of each other,” said Ollie Griffith, IHSA National Associate Steward. “They're just amazing. One went to the University of Findlay. One went to Ohio state. And it just couldn't be better for us.”

Aboard Tinselena Spark (Tin Tin), Lancaster rode the final pattern in beautiful style earning the high score of 148.50. Lancaster’s third-place performance in the horsemanship phase helped secure the Championship title.

Lancaster’s winning mount Tin Tin, an 11-year-old mare (Tinsel Nic x Smart Sparkalena) owned by John McDaniel and handled by Cathy Luse, was awarded the High Point Horse title.

"I love how the two organizations came together and collaborated on this,” said Lancaster. “It's really nice because we had to cancel the fall season and it was a great way to come and show together."

Knerr rode the 5-year-old gelding Gunnataxya (Gunnatrashya x Sannie Shine) for her run-off round. Her consistency in the saddle earned her a run-off score of 146.50 and a fourth-place in horsemanship aboard Original Barbie, owned by Chris Russell, taking home the overall reserve call.

IHSA INVITATIONAL CLASS RESULTS

OVERALL

  1. 415 – Nigel Lancaster / Hilliard, Ohio / 211.00
  2. 413 – Ashton Knerr / Plain City, Ohio / 183.00
  3. 431 – Matthew ‘Matt’ Graves / Grand Island, Nebraska / 135.00
  4. 410 – Matthew ‘Matt’ Winter / Punta Gorda, Florida / 132.00
  5. 409 – Travis Fortune / Booneville, Indiana / 115.00
  6. 416 – Hart Daniels / Vaughan, Mississippi / 112.00
  7. 412 – Nathan Sparren / Bolivar, Ohio / 106.00
  8. 426 – Anna Woolsey / Skiatook, Oklahoma / 100.00
  9. 406 – Sarah Thompson / Newburg, Oregon / 91.00
  10. 419 – Chloe Alhaig / Chandler, Arizona / 73.00
  11. 400 – Kendall Viel / Lawrenceburg, Indiana / 46.00
  12. 418 – Teah ‘Teah Mae’ Taylor / Amarillo, Texas / 36.00

HORSEMANSHIP

  1. 431 – Matthew ‘Matt’ Graves / Grand Island, Nebraska / 225.00
  2. 409 – Travis Fortune / Booneville, Indiana / 211.00
  3. 415 – Nigel Lancaster / Hilliard, Ohio / 196.00
  4. 413 – Ashton Knerr / Plain City, Ohio / 156.00
  5. 410 – Matthew ‘Matt’ Winter / Punta Gorda, Florida / 132.00
  6. 426 – Anna Wooley / Skiatook, Oklahoma / 110.00
  7. 419 – Chloe Alhaig / Chandler, Arizona / 81.00
  8. 406 – Sarah Thompson / Newburg, Oregon / 73.00
  9. 412 – Nathan Sparren / Bolivar, Ohio / 51.00
  10. 416 – Hart Daniels / Vaughan, Mississippi / 49.00
  11. 418 – Teah ‘Teah Mae’ Taylor / Amarillo, Texas / 36.00

12 400 – Kendall Viel / Lawrenceburg, Indiana / 20.00

REINING

  1. 415 – Nigel Lancaster / Hilliard, Ohio / 147.00
  2. 413 – Ashton Knerr / Plain City, Ohio / 147.00
  3. 416 – Hart Daniels / Vaughan, Mississippi / 146.00
  4. 412 – Nathan Sparren / Bolivar, Ohio / 145.50
  5. 410 ­– Matthew ‘Matt’ Winter / Punta Gorda, Florida / 136.00
  6. 406 – Sarah Thompson / Newburg, Oregon / 135.00
  7. 426 – Anna Woolsey / Skiatook, Oklahoma / 133.50
  8. 400 – Kendall Viel / Lawrenceburg, Indiana / 131.00
  9. 419 – Chloe Alhaig / Chandler, Arizona / 121.50
  10. 418 – Teah ‘Teah Mae’ Taylor / Amarillo, Texas / 108.00

ABOUT THE APHA
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.

LEARN MORE ABOUT APHA

ABOUT THE IHSA
The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) welcomes men and women of 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 at eight levels 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 please visit IHSAInc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Photos are available. Please email Carrie Wirth at carrie@EQmedia.agency.

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

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