May 2017 Issue - page 4

Page 4
May 2017
PENNSYLVANIA EQUESTRIAN
(Continued on page 29)
By Marcella Peyre-Ferry
Middle school and high
school age riders can go far in
Interscholastic Equestrian Asso-
ciation (IEA) competitions.
Both middle school (catego-
rized as Future) and high school
teams from Second Nature Farm
in Oxford, PA were year-end
high point leaders in their region,
for the most cumulative points
earned throughout the regular
season. Both teams were also
overall high point winners at
Regionals on March 4th, which
qualified both teams and seven
individuals for Zones competi-
tion in Buffalo, NY on March
24th. Following a good per-
formance there, team member
Amanda Patterson earned a place
as an individual rider in Junior
Varsity Novice Over Fences at
the Nationals in Lexington, VA
on April 21st.
“As you move up in the post
season competition things get
harder and harder. It’s a pretty big
accomplishment to make it that
far,” Second Nature Farm team
instructor Danielle Roher said.
IEA competition is similar
to Intercollegiate Horse Show
Association competition, with di-
visions geared to riders starting at
very basic beginner levels. Teams
travel to competitions across the
region, where the host farm pro-
Oxford, PA Interscholastic
Teams Lead Region
Top: Megan Kuon, Lauren Coalson, Coach: Danielle Diienno, Amelia Bonsib, Haylie Kerstetter,
Amanda Patterson. Bottom: Sarah Gillespe, Annika Pfaff, Annalia Webb, Rachel Staib, Evie Oliver,
Eris Diienno, Madison Houghton, Cade Verrico. Not Pictured: Alyson Brown, Kyra Vanvoorhees, Sadie
Kalman, Bethie Abell, Allie Bloom, Olivia Dellavecchia.
vides all the horses for the event.
Horses are matched to riders at the
appropriate level by random draw
with consideration to rider weight
and size as well as ability.
The opportunity to ride a
strange horse is something that
the young riders really enjoy.
“It’s a good confidence builder,”
Roher said. “It really is a test of
your riding ability, how quickly
you can adapt, and your riding
skills. You have to be able to ride
the horse you have that day.”
Riders in sixth through
twelfth grades compete on the flat
and over fences, as with any equi-
tation class. Middle school teams
begin with a walk-trot-canter
class for the Beginner division,
followed by Future Novice with
a flat class and a class over cross
rails. Future Intermediate division
riders do an equitation on the flat
class and a class over two foot
fences.
High school level teams also
start at the basics with a walk-
trot-canter class for the JV Be-
ginner Division. JV Novice riders
do a flat class and a class over
cross-rails. Varsity Intermediate
riders jump two feet and Varsity
Open riders jump 2’6” in addition
to their flat class.
“It’s all equitation. The horse
is not judged at all,” Roher said.
“They do that for fairness. They
try to eliminate the horse out of
the equation and just judge the
rider.”
Teams may compete at five
shows throughout the season to
accumulate points to qualify for
the regional competition. Those
who earn enough points move up
to the next division.
Outgrowth of
Lesson Program
This is just the third year
Second Nature Farm has hosted
the IEA program. Roher put to-
gether the teams as an outgrowth
of the regular lesson program.
“I started to do a little bit of
background detail and kick-start-
ed it because we had a ton of
kids in that age range. Everybody
seemed pretty willing to try
it,” Roher said. “When we first
started, it was basically all my
students. It has grown, and there
has been outreach now. So, I have
some students who ride at other
farms and just come and do the
team with me.”
IEA rules require that the
riders have at least one year of
experience with a professional in-
structor, and that they have regu-
lar riding instruction at least once
a week. They are not required to
own their own horses.
Students meet for a session
with Roher once a month, and
travel with the team to competi-
tions. Riders are judged as indi-
viduals. Before the competition
starts, the team trainer nominates a
rider to represent the team in each
class. Points from those placings
count toward the team awards.
“Their points will always
count for individuals. It’s not just
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