The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) has canceled all events for the remainder of the season. It joined the Interscholastic Horse Show Association (IHSA) and National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) in scrapping events due to the coronavirus.
According to the IEA, which hosts events for students in middle school and high school, the decision was based on human safety as well as other factors:
- Riders not able to practice
- Horses not in working condition
- Concerns from horse providers
- College partners shut down since March and mandated through July
- Travel turmoil and cancellations
- Conflicts with other shows once we pass usual calendar season
Roxane Durant, IEA Co-founder and Executive Director said the organization had to make a decision that ensured the safety and welfare of all its members, as well as its equine partners.
“This was an unbelievably hard decision because it disappoints so many, especially our senior riders. To lessen the setback, we are revising some rules and making changes relative to this decision so current riders have more options for next season,” she said in a statement. “In addition, we plan some special surprises for our riders, including providing a scholarship opportunity for every senior.”
National Reining Horse Association Commissioner Gary Carpenter, who also is an IEA Board member, said he agreed the association had to make a decision. The association has competitions for hunt seat and Western riders, and annually crowns its Western national champions at the NRHA Derby.
“The NRHA and IEA are affiliated organizations and for many years the IEA has held its Western Finals during the NRHA Derby in June,” he said in the statement. “I agree the IEA needed to make a decision at this time. Currently, we still plan to hold the Derby. Unlike the IEA, our competitors ride and transport their own horses. Of course, come June, we will abide by all Coronavirus guidelines and act accordingly.”
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