The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) sent an official memorandum to their board members, coaches for all colleges and universities currently enrolled or intending to enroll as members of the IHSA for the 2017-2018 academic year. The memorandum was an official notification that, until further evaluation by the IHSA executive committee, as of Aug. 30, 2017, any college or university that elects to join the National Equestrian Collegiate Association (NCEA) will be ineligible to join the IHSA.
Upon further evaluation, the IHSA executive committee has decided to allow IHSA and NCEA dual memberships for the 2017-2018 academic year. Colleges and universities that are members of and/or plan to compete in NCEA may continue to participate and compete in the IHSA. Evaluation of this decision will continue and will be presented to the IHSA board at their January 2018 meeting. The IHSA leadership asks affected college and university equestrian programs for patience to allow the organization time to meet, evaluate and determine a path forward that is in the best interest of the IHSA and the equestrian collegiate sport community.
For 50 years, IHSA has grown and developed and has been on the forefront of collegiate equestrian competition. It serves men and women in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Div. I, II and III schools, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schools, community colleges and two-year junior colleges. Because of the depth of its membership and the close relationships formed within the equestrian and collegiate world over the years, the IHSA executive committee and the board of directors feel a responsibility to the IHSA schools to understand what changes will occur when the NCAA-CWA emerging sport process is completed and Women’s Equestrian becomes an NCAA championship sport. (Read the announcement from Leah Holland Fiorentino, Executive Director of the NCEA, dated July 18, 2017.)
Both the IHSA and NCEA offer hunt seat and Western competition. The IHSA program differs from the NCEA program by offering membership and competition to both male and female undergraduate athletes and alumni. Unlike the NCEA, the IHSA membership roster includes all accredited degree granting institutions including NAIA schools, community colleges and junior colleges. Additionally, the IHSA offers competition at eight riding levels, from walk-trot through open in both team and individual competition. During the competition season, the IHSA has more than 10,000 student members within 400 participating colleges and universities competing on teams with club or varsity status, and many varsity teams that are NCAA compliant. The NCEA has 22 member colleges and universities offering team and individual competition at the advanced level for female members only.
The IHSA was founded in 1967 by Robert Cacchione while he attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. The organization was established so that any full-time college student could participate in equestrian competition regardless of economic status, gender or riding level. The IHSA emphasizes learning and sportsmanship and fosters teamwork. The organization has grown to include 400 member teams and 10,000 riders in hunt seat equitation, Western horsemanship and reining. The IHSA encompasses 40 Regions, 8 Zones and 45 states and Canada. College or university teams, individuals, alumni and coaches may become members.
For more information, go to: IHSAinc.com.