Western riders will see an expanded class lineup in next year's IEA • Photo by Molly Montag.

Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) To Add Ranch Riding

Ranch riding will soon be part of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) class lineup.

The Columbus, Ohio-based association – which currently features Western horsemanship and reining classes – announced this week that it will add Novice Ranch Riding in 2021-2022. It will be available to both the Upper School and Middle School Novice Divisions.

The new Novice Ranch Riding pattern class will replace the previously optional Novice Reining Prep classes as a standard class offering at every Western IEA horse show. Designed to be a preparatory introduction (or stepping-stone) to traditional reining classes, the Ranch Riding class will be an individual pattern class for Novice level riders – giving them the option of two classes at each regular and post-season show and will follow American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA) and/or American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Ranch Riding standards for maneuvers and dress code.

Currently, IEA offers five divisions of Western Horsemanship Classes (Beginner Walk/Jog, Beginner Walk/Jog/Lope, Novice, Intermediate and Open) and three divisions of Reining (Future Intermediate, Varsity Intermediate, and Varsity Open). 

“Ranch Riding has seen a surge of growth over the last decade across the country,” IEA Western Zone Administrator Tammy Braham said in a statement announcing the addition. “It makes perfect sense for IEA to introduce this popular class as it not only tests the rider’s ability to complete pattern work on an unfamiliar mount, but it also makes sense for the pool of available horses we have access to across the country.

She said the IEA Western Committee has worked diligently over the past few years to discuss options for new classes, update rules specific to the Western discipline, discuss feedback from members and find ways to improve and increase opportunities for our riders.    

Changes made to IEA Western for the 2020-2021 season included the addition of Horsemanship patterns within the Novice, Intermediate and Open Horsemanship classes as well as the addition of Upper and Middle School Walk/Jog classes and qualifying opportunities for National Finals for 4th and 5th grade riders. IEA also increased regular season competitions from five to six for Western members.

 The IEA Western National Finals will be held this month during the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) World Show in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Next year, IEA will host a combined National Finals with all three disciplines (Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage) from April 28-May 1, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as part of the its 20th anniversary season. Membership for the 2021-2022 Season will open in June 2021 for new and returning riders, coaches and teams with competitions beginning August 1, 2021.

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