IHSA Announces 2021 Academic Achievement and Scholarship Award Winners

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association congratulates the 2021 Academic Achievement and Scholarship award winners. Academic Achievement awards are presented to IHSA members who have earned a 3.5-grade point average (GPA) or above throughout the academic year. Scholarships are awarded to members who meet eligibility requirements, excel in the classroom, exhibit horsemanship skills and demonstrate financial need. Seniors are encouraged to submit an entry for the Senior Academic Achievement Essay Award, a 500-word essay about how the IHSA and their academic experience have prepared them for life after graduation.

“IHSA members as a whole are high-performing students,” said Peter Cashman, IHSA executive director. “It gives us a feeling of great pride to see our members perform well in the show ring and excel at their studies. Academic excellence is an important piece of the IHSA mission and we applaud their effort.”

The Senior Athletic Academic Achievement Awards are presented to IHSA members who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and have been a member of their intercollegiate equestrian team for three years, including their senior year.

Congratulations to the 2021 IHSA Senior Athletic Academic Achievement Award recipients. Click here to view the full list of award recipients.

The IHSA recognizes its members who excel academically throughout the year with the All-Academic Awards. Eligibility for the First Team All-Academic Award members must have a cumulative GPA of 3.8 or higher and a 3.5 or higher for the Second Team All-Academic Award.

Congratulations to all of the 2021 IHSA All-Academic Award winners.



The IHSA is proud to offer the Senior Essay Award annually to deserving graduating seniors. Eligible seniors submit a 500-word essay explaining how the qualities learned during IHSA competitions have benefitted them in their academic years and how it will continue to benefit them in their future careers.

“I am so proud of the seniors who submitted essays and enjoyed reading about their journey in the IHSA,” said Cricket Morris, IHSA Secretary and Interim Treasurer. “These essays showcase the strength of our members and how impactful their experience in IHSA has been on their lives.”

This year’s winner is Elizabeth Larson from Williamette University in Salem, Oregon. Elizabeth Larson is the Williamette Equestrian Team president and captain. She’s been part of the team since it was established during her freshman year. In May, she will graduate with degrees in Biochemistry and Studio Art.

“The program has been key to developing my time management, confidence and creative problem-solving skills; capabilities I will carry forward into graduate school,” said Larson. “On a personal level, I plan to continue making horses more accessible to others through education, fundraising and outreach.”

The IHSA would also like to congratulate the runner-up and third place entries written and submitted by Sarah Zube (University of Virginia) and Hannah Waroway (Midway University), who won this award in 2020. You can read their entries here.


The Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation (IEF) scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who have competed in intercollegiate equestrian activities and are based on academic achievement, equestrian sport achievement, community service and financial need.

The mission of the IEF is to foster and promote intercollegiate equestrian activities by providing scholarships and grants. The IEF presents multiple general scholarships each year. Included in these general IEF scholarships are three named awards.

This year the IEF scholarships are being awarded in honor of the late Naomi Blumenthal, who served the IHSA for more than 40 years. Blumenthal was deeply rooted in the IHSA’s history through decades of service. She was an inspiration for future generations of coaches and riders. Donations made in her name are funding this year’s scholarship recipients.

Congratulations to the 2021 IEF Scholarship winners:

Payton Lawrence – Receiving the Joan Johnson Memorial Award
Centenary University
Zone 3, Region 3

Sinead O’Sullivan
Mount Holyoke College
Zone 1, Region 3

Jessica L. Soukup
St. Lawrence University
Zone 2, Region 2

The Joan Johnson Memorial Award is in honor of IHSA founding member, Stony Brook University Equestrian Team coach, Associate National Steward (1967-2000), Zone 3 chairperson and chair of the Scholarship Foundation since its inception. Joan Johnson, affectionately known as “JJ,” is remembered for her uncommon devotion and leadership of 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 go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

The Intercollegiate Equestrian Foundation Inc. (IEF) fosters and promotes intercollegiate equestrian activities and competition through the awarding of scholarships and grants. The scholarships are awarded to those undergraduate students who have competed in intercollegiate equestrian activities and are based upon non-discriminatory criteria including academic achievement, equestrian sport achievement, community service and financial need. The IEF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Learn more here.

Carrie Wirth
EQ Media
(612) 209-0310


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