IHSA (edited)

For y'all that weren't collegiate, that's the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association*.

I got to reminiscing about my old show history.  (Because I miss showing.  I also miss riding a horse who isn't cranky, jumping fences that aren't just poles, cantering a line, and kicking ass in a flat class.)

I went to a small, local college.  When I saw that they had an equestrian team, I went to the informative meeting to see how to get involved.  I shortly found out that it was about $200/month out of my non-existent budget.  So, I forgot about it.

Come January, my second semester at college, and the people leading the team reach back out to see if anyone is interested.  The stipulations have changed.  I don't need to drop $ for team fees or attend X number of lessons.  So I sign on and, now, my best friend has transferred to my college.  I become the team prez and she's the vice prez.

I realized later that the reason the changes were made, in order to actually get people involved, was because there was still a "school team", but it had no riders.  And it was still hosting a show in February.  We managed to get and maintain a small team for the four years I was the president.  We weren't ever high in the points, but we had a good time trying.

When the time had come to decide where I would be starting, I sorta got my feelings hurt.  They'd asked about my show history and how long I'd been riding and all of that.  And, even though I'd champion'd in one recognized show, the team captain and secretary (who later became my farm family and refined me) decided that I would do best in Advanced Walk/Trot/Canter.  It was a blow to my jumping ego.

Colleges in our division included:  the University of Georgia, Clemson University, Berry College, Landers and... I think.. the University of South Carolina.  Maybe.  And some other tiny colleges, like ours.

I ended my IHSA career (until I finally cough up the money and time to try alumni) about two points shy of pointing out of W/T/C and into the jumping classes.  Le sigh.

In no particular order, show photos!

I loved blue show shirts. And wasn't fond of belts.

Trainer, bestie, me.


..I won the class on this little appy.

Huh.  I guess I've always sat more on the left.

Bestie, me, teammate who got to jump,  WTC teammate.

Team mate who showed cows, team mate who jumped, trainer, me.

*I suck.  Here's what was special about IHSA:  the colleges that had horses brought some of their horses to the show, wherever it was held.  The horses were organized based on their skill level, the skill level of the person who could ride them, and any height/weight restrictions (165#).  Then you were randomly assigned a horse based on those restrictions.  There was a "cheat sheet" that told about that horse: color, gender, breed, and any issues, like crop needed or sticky left lead or doesn't like to bend.  And then you got on the horse, adjusted your stirrups and went immediately into the show ring.  No warm ups allowed.

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  1. My college had an IHSA team for years, and I was on it my sophomore year at school. The team switched to NCAA equestrian after that. I was on the team for both types of competitions and never really enjoyed IHSA. I always felt like the horses were either very, very nice or absolutely terrible. I distinctly remember drawing a gawky Appendix for a flat class that spent the entire ride jigging nervously instead of trotting and crow hopping instead of cantering.

    In NCAA, you compete against one other school (unless it was a tournament or something). The host school provides the horses. Riders from each team draw horses, but the horses are the same for each team. So if Sally Sue from Whatever State University and I both draw Loves To Buck, we both ride him in the same pattern (for flat) or on the same jump course (for fences). Flat riders got two minutes of warm-up time and fences riders got five minutes. I always felt like it was more evenly judged, despite the very obvious home field advantage.

    I'm glad you had good experiences with IHSA shows, though! It sounds like you had a great region (zone? thing?)!

    1. Oh, wow. You know, I never realized that you could ride both IHSA and NCAA. UGA's equestrian team went NCAA, so I was always under the impression that the girls we competed against in IHSA weren't.. uh... experienced enough to get on the NCAA team. I'm curious now if anyone was on both teams!

      I won't say that I loved it at the time. All that effort and money just to compete in two classes? And I completely agree on the assessment about the horses. Some were phenomenal and agreeable and some you could tell either had holes in their training or were not interested in being ridden by multiple people. It's also a lot to ask from them in a short amount of time.

  2. Ah, yes...Advanced WTC. I was crushed by that placing. I had been around horses all my life and considered myself far beyond a beginner, but I was naive to the fact that there was another world out there. A world where girls had been taking lessons on fancy horses and competing in shows since they could wear their first tiny pair of jodhpurs. I finally pointed into Novice and by then I was kind of over it. I missed the one-on-one relationship and progressing with one horse rather than drawing your mount out of a hat.

    1. Oh, I'm with you on the "other world." I was also chubby for most of the shows, which my trainer kindly explained didn't appeal to the equitation judges. (Truth: I lost weight and started winning.) And my trainer's focus had always been to teach me to do whatever it took to properly ride the horse, not just to look pretty while on a pretty horse. It was hard to disconnect that from lessons to a show ring, so sometimes I'd get sloppy while I asked the horse to do something. Or I'd ask the horse to do something it didn't know how to do. Seriously: Advanced W/T/C horses should be able to bend!

    2. And my dressage lessons today STILL consist mainly of undoing everything I learned in hunt seat equitation - UGH!

    3. Hah. I didn't realize that I rode hunt seat so well until I started taking dressage lessons. :)

  3. What a fun walk down memory lane!