Zone Championships Yield Hunter Seat Competitors for IHSA National Championship Horse Show

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Teams and individuals qualify for the IHSA National Championship Horse Show in Lexington.

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) held eight Zone Finals March 30-April 8. The eight Zone hunter seat competitions produced across North America were qualifying events for the 2023 IHSA National Championship to be showcased at the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, May 4-7.

From each Zone Finals, the top-two teams and the top two individual riders from each division all qualified to compete at the highlight of the IHSA season. The top-three Regional High-Point Riders from each Zone qualifying class are eligible to compete in the coveted Hunter Seat High-Point Rider, Presenting the Cacchione Cup. The IHSA National Championship Show determines the team and individual champions in both hunter seat and Western. The Western qualifiers were determined at the NRHA Western Semi-Finals in March.

At the Zone 1 Finals, hosted at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts on April 8, the home team, coached by CJ Law, earned the top spot. The reserve championship went to Sacred Heart University, coached by Tiffany Hajdasz. The teams earned placing points of 41 and 37, respectively, and are now Nationals bound.

On April 8, Skidmore College hosted the IHSA Zone 2 Finals and also took the championship. The Skidmore College team is coached by Belinda Colgan. The reserve championship went to the Long Island University-Post team, coached by Brooke Chasin. The teams earned 45 and 36 points, respectively. Both teams will head to Kentucky for Nationals.

In Zone 3 on April 8, hosts Centenary University earned the championship. The equestrian team, coached by Michael Dowling and Heather Clark, earned 49 points. With 35 points, the University of Delaware team, coached by Whitney Carmouche, took home the reserve championship. These two teams are on their way to Nationals.

The Zone 4 Finals Championship went to hosts Goucher College on April 1. Coached by Jennifer Smith, the Goucher College team had a strong competition earning 52 points. The Zone 4 Reserve Championship went to the 2022 IHSA National Champions, Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College, coached by Heather Richardson, with 36 points and will defend their title in Kentucky.

Zone 5 Finals Champion was Zone host Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), coached by Ashley Henry. By winning all but one of their team classes, SCAD earned 54 points, the highest team score of the eight Zones Finals. Reserve Champion honors went to the University of South Carolina, coached by Angela MacFawn, with 31 points. These teams are on the road to Nationals!

Zone 6 Finals was hosted by Lake Erie College in Ohio on April 1. The University of Findlay, coached by Brittany Friesner, emerged victorious by collecting 44 points. Reserve champion honors went to Otterbein University, coached by Kari Briggs and Lindsay Yinger, with 40 points. The two teams punched their tickets to IHSA Nationals.

Zone 7 Finals was hosted by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in Indiana on April 1. Champion Purdue University, coached by Kathryn Kraft, won the team competition with 44 points. With 39 points, reserve champion honors went to the University of Wisconsin- Madison, coached by Andrea Bill. With less than a month to go, the teams have secured their spots at Nationals.

On April 8, Zone 8 Finals hosts Stanford University, coached by Vanessa Bartsch, earned the championship, earning 47 points and the trip to Nationals. Reserve champion honors went to the University of Southern California, coached by Kat Griffiths, with 40 points. These teams have their sights set on Nationals in Lexington.

All competitors will start from scratch at Nationals, offering any qualified team and individual a shot at earning an IHSA national title.

“This year’s eight Zone Finals had exciting results across the country,” said IHSA Executive Director Peter Cashman. “Congratulations to all the qualifiers! Many thanks to Back on Track, USHJA, CWD and SmartPak for providing prizes. Thank you to all the host schools, judges, riders, coaches and supporters. We look forward to the IHSA National Championship Horse Show in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington in May.”




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, ranch riding 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.

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Media Contact:
Carrie Wirth
EQ Media