Following a three-year pilot program for Dressage competition, the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), launched the discipline as an official offering for riders in Grades 4-12 during the 2019-2020 season. The Dressage National Finals that was slated to be held in Michigan for 2020 was cancelled due to COVID. Despite the complications of the pandemic, IEA was able to host 84 Dressage competitions with over 490 youth equestrians across the United States this season since August 2020, and over 900 total shows among all the disciplines. Individuals and teams that accumulated the highest number of points within IEA Dressage Regions competed at Regional competitions to qualify for this inaugural event. 143 qualified riders and 41 coaches will travel to the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas on May 15-16, 2021 for this first ever IEA Dressage National Finals event.
IEA utilizes a draw-based form of competition, similar to collegiate riding programs, whereby riders are furnished with an unfamiliar horse and tack on the day of competition and will show after a brief warm-up. This “blind-draw or catch-riding” format levels the playing field and challenges riders to adapt quickly to their horse. Riders are judged on their equitation and will compete in Dressage Test and Dressage Seat Equitation (DSE) classes, based on rider-level, for individual and team awards.
Judging this year’s Finals competition will be Sandy Osborn, a USEF “S” Judge from Loganville, Georgia. Stewards for the event are: Leslie Hoover, Intercollegiate Dressage National (IDA) Secretary from Spring Mills, Pennsylvania and Susan Wentzel, IEA National Steward from Wellsville, Pennsylvania.
Complete live streaming of the IEA Dressage National Finals will be available online and offered at no cost to viewers through the IEA website: www.rideiea.org and on the US Equestrian Network at www.usef.org.
“Because only a fraction of the IEA’s riders qualify for the National Finals, it is important to provide real-time and archived viewing to the other riders, families, friends and supporters,” said Myron Leff, IEA Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. “We are pleased that equestrian videographers, Shownet, LLC will once again provide the video so our diverse audience can enjoy the Dressage Finals competition.”
Winslow Photography will serve as the official horse show photographer.
For a complete listing of information and schedule for the 2021 IEA Dressage National Finals, visit: https://www.rideiea.org/dressage/finals/
About the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA):
Now finishing its 19th year, the IEA has nearly 14,000 members across the United 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 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. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels.
For more information, please visit www.rideiea.org