Interscholastic Equestrian Association National Finals Comes To Horse Center


April 21 - Nearly 400 of the nation's leading middle school and high school equestrians are converging at the Virginia Horse Center today through Sunday to compete for top honors in Hunt Seat classes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals. The student riders, in grades 6 through 12, have traveled from across the United States to participate in the competition.

Of the 1,404 high school and middle school teams from nine zones across the country, 180 will be represented at this year's event. Riders and teams competed at over 434 horse shows during the 2016-17 school year. The teams and individuals that accumulated the highest number of points within IEA Regions competed at Regional Competitions; those winners went on to compete at Zone Finals and then those champions qualified for the National Finals. The riders who qualified for Nationals bested more than 13,500 youth-equestrians.

Riders will compete in Hunt Seat Equitation Classes, over fences and on the flat, throughout the weekend. The format requires that riders compete in unfamiliar tack on unfamiliar mounts; therefore, they draw their horses the day of competition and enter the arena after a brief, if any, warm up.

These photos are by Stephanie Mikels Blevins of some of Friday's activities.

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