Athletes from the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) validated their equitation skills among the best in North America at the National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky, in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship. For the second consecutive year, the leadership of the National Horse Show Association of America (NHSAA) invited qualified IHSA members to participate in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship, the feature class Oct. 24.
Of the 70-plus entries, the IHSA contributed 10 talented riders to the THIS National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship. Course designer Bobby Murphy designed the tracks that tested the abilities of the horse-and-rider combinations. The championship included three phases: the first jumping round, the top 24 riders returned for the flat phase and a second round over fences. After the second round, Judges Chance Arakelian and Kari Kampsen had the option to test further.
IHSA riders Madison Myro (Las Vegas, Nevada), Lilly French (Aurora, Ohio) and Taylor Goodridge (Worcester, Massachusetts) were all named to the top group of 24 for the flat phase. The same group returned in reverse order of ranking for Murphy’s second track with Myro in the top placing. The second round included opportunities for riders to show off their abilities by incorporating neat turns and roll backs into smooth rounds.
After the second round, the judges asked four riders to return for a work-off round, with Myro in the third position. Kampsen and Arakelian judged the four over a third course of seven obstacles that included counter-cantering the first fence, a halt and a trot fence.
After the final round, the judges awarded Myro the fourth-place prize overall and the top placing among the IHSA entries. The championship went to Madison Sellman who rose in the ranks after her second round.
“Coming back in the top 25, I was ecstatic,” said Myro. “It was a huge class. I was so excited about that. And then, making it to the top four of the work off was an amazing feeling. Of course, there were nerves, excitement, all of it combined, but it truly was incredible.”
Myro, 21, graduates in 2022 with a degree in Equine Studies. She rode to the win the championship in the Adult Equitation division at the 2019 National Horse Show, won the USHJA National Derby at Monmouth at the Team in 2019, was the 2019 IHSA National Open Flat Reserve Champion and her team earned the reserve championship at the 2019 ARNC Championship. She is a working student with Michael Dowling and Michael Myers at Windham Hill in Long Valley, New Jersey.
Myro rode Balito, an 11-year old Westphalian gelding by Balou Du Rouet, owned by Chase Hollow Equestrian Partners in Far Hills, New Jersey. She had only ridden Balito once about a year and a half ago when he first arrived at the barn as a jumper but hadn’t ridden him since.
“He’s an incredible horse for one that hasn’t been doing the equitation for very long,” Myro said. “He’s pretty special.”
Myro thanked the IHSA for providing the opportunity to compete at the National Horse Show, Dowling and Myers for their support and the Chimenti family for the use of Balito and sent thanks to her parents.
“Just to do the Eq at the National Horse Show is an incredible experience,” Myro said.
Friday and earlier in the day Saturday, the National Horse Show held the Perez and Bennett Adult Equitation division. IHSA riders Myro and Brady Martino distinguished themselves. Martino earned a fourth over fences and a fourth on the flat with his mount All That Jive, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Flamenco de Semilly, owned by Eva Kennedy. Myro and Balito garnered a sixth over fences and a second on the flat.
Martino is a 21-year-old from Easton, Pennsylvania. He will graduate in 2021 with a degree in Equestrian Studies. Martino won the Novice Flat at the 2018 IHSA Nationals.
The invitation for the IHSA riders to compete in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship is part of an initiative to showcase the organization to the greater equestrian audience. The effort is spearheaded by IHSA board member Michael Dowling. This year, the invitation meant an opportunity to compete safely in the midst of many canceled events.
“We want to thank Jennifer Burger, Bill Weeks, Geoff Teall, Cindy Bozan, Michael Taylor from Taylor Harris and the entire National Horse Show team giving this opportunity to the IHSA riders,” Dowling said. “This year we are challenged with limited options for these riders to compete. To have the chance to compete at this level, in the setting of such a storied event was amazing. Many thanks to IHSA board member Heather Pinnick for her help and support. It was a great experience for all!”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL HORSE SHOW
Founded in 1883, the National Horse Show is the culmination of the equestrian season. The 2020 National Horse Show is offers over $300,000 in prize money as an FEI CSI4*-W designated event. The National Horse Show $50,000 Hunter Classic along with the ASPCA Maclay Finals, The Hamel Foundation National Horse Show 3’3” Equitation Championship and the Taylor Harris Insurance Services Adult Equitation Championship have made the National Horse Show a must-attend event for equestrians around the world as the finale to their summer equestrian seasons.
To learn more about the National Horse Show, click here.
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 to build successful careers.
Photos available upon request.