Interested in competing as part of a team? IEA is the program for you. The Interscholastic Equestrian Association, better known as IEA, is a countrywide organization that allows middle and high school riders to compete at the local, state, and national levels. As riding is typically an individualized sport, there have traditionally not been many chances to be part of a team until the foundation of the IEA. At IEA competitions, the host barn (which varies from show to show) supplies the horses. When the teams arrive on the day of a show, each rider draws the name of a horse out of a hat, gets on, and shows! This randomization of mounts levels the playing field for riders of different backgrounds. IEA is all about showcasing your riding abilities without needing to have the fanciest, most expensive horse.
In IEA competition, riders are judged on their equitation: hands, seat, body control, and general ability to navigate a flat class or a jump course. Classes are divided by both age and level and range from beginner walk-trot-canter to the open 2’6” level. Each team member’s points count equally toward the total team score, regardless of level.
Second Nature Farm has very active, successful IEA teams for both middle and high school, coached by Danielle DiIenno. The teams attend horse shows about twice a month, sometimes more, during the regular competition season, which begins in September and culminates in May. Riders may participate in up to 5 shows during the regular season in an effort to earn enough points to qualify for Regionals, which typically takes place in February or March.
SNF formed its IEA team in 2014, but despite its young age, it has already seen great success. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, both the middle and high school teams were regional year-end champions and qualified to compete at Zone Finals. In 2018, the middle school team, comprised of Eris DiIenno, Lindsey Mecouch, and Emilie Harrison, was overall champion at Zone XI Finals, which qualified them to compete at the National Finals, where they placed 8th out of all middle school teams in the entire country!
To be a part of this hardworking, fun-loving team, riders must take weekly lessons from a professional (at SNF or elsewhere) in addition to regular team practices at SNF. These are the only requirements! Team members need not own or lease a horse or have any prior horse show experience. SNF prides itself on its culture of inclusiveness and welcomes all riders who wish to be a part of the IEA team.
If you are interested in joining Second Nature Farm’s winning IEA team, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We would love to hear from you and get you involved in the fun ASAP!