Dear IEA Members, Parents, Sponsors and Friends -

What an exciting time to be part of IEA. So many terrific things are happening over the next few months including dozens of REGIONAL FINALS, ZONE FINALS, and of course, our 20th Anniversary COMBINED NATIONAL FINALS! It certainly feels like we are in a whirlwind of activity.

This newsletter is (again) chock full of information and introductions to new sponsors and programs as well as updates on future IEA events. As we get nearer to National Finals, be sure to check the National Finals page for your discipline. Hotels are listed and information is being updated regularly. We can't wait to see so many of you in Harrisburg, PA! Make plans now to attend whether you qualify or not - it is going to be a fantastic event and our biggest finals ever.

Again, we offer our gratitude for all our 2021-2022 members and sponsors and their incredible hard work and generosity this season. Stay warm, stay healthy, and GOOD LUCK IN POST-SEASON competitions!

IEA cordially invites you to attend our largest IEA National Finals EVER in celebration of our 20th Anniversary Season!

More than 750 youth riders along with their parents, coaches, family and teammates from around the US will gather at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, PA on April 28-May 1, 2022 for a 4-day/2 arena/3 discipline extravaganza.

This is an event you don't want to miss!

Vendor areas are starting to fill up quickly. A wide variety of Sponsorship opportunities are available starting at $150.

We would love for YOU to join our list of generous sponsors and vendors and be recognized for supporting youth equestrian sports.

Contact IEA Sales & Sponsorship Manager, MEGAN TAYLOR at MEGAN@RIDEIEA.ORG for details.
IEA will host a PARADE OF TEAMS on Friday, April 29th at National Finals following the last class.This PARADE OF TEAMS will include teams from ALL THREE DISCIPLINES! Our biggest parade EVER followed by a FUN EXHIBITORS EVENT, so plan to stick around Friday evening!

PLAN AHEAD. We encourage teams to coordinate apparel/props/signs to show your TEAM SPIRIT for the parade. Here are some ideas:
  • FORMAL - everyone in their full show clothes
  • SEMI-FORMAL - everyone in matching shirts/jeans/team jackets/hats, etc.
  • THEMED/COSTUMES - choose a theme for your team (patriotic, tropical, animal characters, etc.)

We can't wait to see what creative things you come up with!

For non-competing IEA members and teams - we encourage you to come watch National Finals and participate from the stands with your team spirit.
A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to the 2021 IEA Hunt Seat Upper School Champion Team - EVERMORE FARM, coached by Eleanor Ellis of Brooklet, Georgia (Zone 4). Champion Team members include: Elyse Blevins, Macaleigh Van Den Bosch, Morgan Spargo and Sarah Tompkins.

EVERMORE was recognized this month at the 2021 US Equestrian Pegasus Awards in Naples, Florida. Helping to present the USEF Interscholastic Award was IEA Executive Director, Roxane Durant and IEA Board President, Katie Schaaf.

Also recognized for Interscholastic Achievement were the 2021 IEA Dressage National Finals Upper School Champion Team - Grier School (coached by Chrystal Wood; Region 11) and the 2021 IEA Western National Finals Upper School Champion Team - King Show Horses (coached by Jennifer King; Region 4).

Thank you to US Equestrian for their continued support of youth equestrian programs and for recognizing IEA outstanding youth athletes.
IEA is proud to announce our partnership with Trafalgar Square Books.

Trafalgar Square Books is the leading provider of fine equestrian books and a wonderful resource for IEA Riders, Coaches, Parents and Horse Owners. When you purchase any of the books on the IEA recommended reading page, IEA will receive 15% of the total. Own good books and help raise money for YOUR association!
IEA is also proud to partner with authors and professional horsemen, SALLY BATTON and JOHN HAIME for our 2022 IEA National Finals. These two authors are generously donating their books as prizes for lucky riders. Scroll down further to see an excerpt from Sally's new book, THE ATHLETIC EQUESTRIAN.
About Trafalgar Square Books is the storefront for Trafalgar Square Books of North Pomfret, Vermont—a small, privately-owned publisher of fine equestrian books, eBooks, and videos, craft books, and selected other titles. When you buy books and videos from, you buy from the source. You can trust that we believe in what we publish, and we sell what we feel is top-quality equestrian education. We take great pride in our string of motivated, talented authors. These individuals are the movers, shakers, and hard-working professionals—riders, trainers, behaviorists, vets, practitioners, therapists, farriers, and sometimes, just ordinary horse-lovers—who inspire us to include horses as part of our own life and who teach us how to be better friends, caregivers, and educators when interacting with them.
Please consider an annual gift of $25, $50, $100, or more
to the IEA Benevolent Fund.

The IEA Benevolent Fund was established nine years ago to provide financial aid to riders who need funding assistance in order to take lessons and compete in the IEA. The Fund also helps coaches who are dealing with unfortunate circumstances such as health issues, injuries, barn fires, wildfires, and other unexpected tragedies that translate into a loss of business income.

Contributing to the IEA Benevolent Fund is easy to do! Just click on the link above or below, OR if you prefer to send a check, mail it to our National Office at: Interscholastic Equestrian Association, PO Box 809, Chagrin Falls, OH 44022. Because the IEA is a 501.c.3 non-profit corporation, your donation is tax deductible.

Thank you for your support.
We are at the THREE MONTH mark until the IEA 20th ANNIVERSARY NATIONAL FINALS in Harrisburg, PA! For your convenience, IEA has set up National Finals web pages for all three disciplines with helpful information that is regularly being updated including links to hotels and the preliminary schedule below. Be sure to check frequently as we get closer to this exciting event.
IEA is excited to announce our new Youth Vendor opportunity!
Are you an IEA rider with your own small business? This is a fantastic chance to learn from current IEA vendors, network with successful entrepreneurs in the equine industry, and broaden your business' reach within IEA.

So what exactly is a Youth Vendor? The IEA recognizes that there is a growing number of its members who have started their own business. Whether making horse treats, belts or t-shirts, locating more customers is always a goal. IEA would like to recognize these young entrepreneurs and their businesses by offering an opportunity to become a vendor at the 2022 IEA National Finals. Special pricing is available for current IEA members who register as a youth vendor. To foster this experience, our youth vendors will also have access to mentors to talk about inventory, set up, how to market before, during and after the event and so much more.

If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities and cost of being an IEA Youth Vendor, please email IEA's Sales and Sponsorship Representative, Megan Taylor at
presented by SCAD - The University for Creative Careers
IEA is now accepting submissions for the NATIONAL FINALS PROGRAM. This year, for our special anniversary program - we will have 3 winners who will be placed in the program as the inside lead page to their respective sections (Hunt Seat, Western, Dressage).

Artwork should follow the guidelines listed below and should be DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC. (In other words, don't try to combine all three disciplines into one design.)


Questions: Contact Montana McKnight at
Did you know you can buy IEA logo stickers and other cute IEA seasonal sticker designs? Stickers, greeting cards and more are available on the Official IEA Redbubble Account!

Find us at under @OfficialRideIEA or by searching Ride IEA & RideIEA in the search bar!

Great for prizes and team gifts!
Take a SNEAK PEEK at this excerpt from
The Athletic Equestrian
by Sally Batton and Christina Keim
(Reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Square Books)
Good Hands and Magic Bands
Creating Compassionate Connection with the Horse’s Mouth

Maintaining the correct angles of the rider’s hands and elbows is essential in order to develop a compassionate connection with the horse’s mouth. Additionally, the proper angles will allow the rider to correctly use the elbow, instead of the wrist or fist, during transitions.
Horses may seem like they are too strong and powerful for something as seemingly small as the angle of a rider’s elbow or the position of her wrist to affect them in a negative way. But horses are extremely sensitive and notice any source of tension in the rider’s body—even if the tension is in her pinky finger. To be effective, riders must learn to ride from their flexible elbows while maintaining correct alignment of the wrists.
Riding with flexible elbows means that the rider can bring her elbows toward her own pelvis, or even past it, by holding with an engaged core. She can move with and follow the horse’s head and neck in each gait, without pulling or tugging, but also without letting go of the reins. This ability is fundamental to creating connection with the horse’s mouth.
In a correct and effective position, the rider’s upper arm should be hanging loosely by her side, her elbow bent to 90 degrees, with her fingers softly closed in a fist around the reins, such that the tips of her fingers touch her palms. The wrists should be slightly curved out. Imagine a small bouncy ball held between the wrists; their curve should match the contour of this ball. Unfortunately, most riders keep their arms too straight, riding only from their fists. When the elbows are straight and the wrists drop down, the rider loses the flexibility of the elbow and the elasticity in her connection with the horse. Her own body gets in the way of the correct use of the rein aids. Habits like these often become completely ingrained in a rider’s practice and can be hard to overcome.
I mentioned earlier that if a rider has tension in her pinky, the horse can feel it. When it comes to wrist position, it should make sense that significant flaws such as “piano hands” (wrists held flat), “puppy paws” (wrists held face down and bent), or wrists popped in or out will all lead to tension in the horse. Riders with incorrect wrist position cannot use their flexible elbows correctly, if they are even able to maintain the elbow angle at all. Instead of softness and energy absorption, flexibility, and effectiveness, these wrist faults will cause the rider’s
connection with the horse to be stiff and unsympathetic. Just as with straight elbows, incorrect wrist position can become a thoroughly ingrained bad habit that takes some diligence and patience to correct.
It is important to note that one rider flaw doesn’t necessarily cause the other. I see riders with correct wrist position and straight elbows, and riders with elastic elbows who break at the
wrist. But each of these rider faults will have a negative effect on her connection with the
horse. What is especially unfortunate is that when the horse tries to escape the rider’s insensitive hands, some trainers will simply prescribe a stronger bit, rather than addressing the true source of the problem.
Let’s pause here and think about how most of us were first taught how to ride. Usually, novice riders are told only that the hands make the horse stop, and the legs make the horse go. They are not taught the mechanics of the correct use of the rein, or the importance of maintaining an elastic elbow held at a 90-degree angle. Without this understanding, it is no wonder that instructors see so many riders holding their elbows straight.
Sometimes, riders keep their elbows straight because they think they are being soft on the horse’s mouth. Maybe the rider’s instructor told her that she needed to “give,” and in response she pushed her arms out in front of her like a version of Frankenstein’s monster. But because the horse’s head and neck oscillate (especially in the walk and the canter), if the rider’s arms are shoved forward with a stiff, locked elbow, the horse’s mouth will be jabbed by the bit almost every other beat. The rider isn’t moving in a way that promotes being soft on the horse’s mouth; in fact, she is doing the exact opposite.
In order to break this bad habit, and to create the elastic, empathetic elbow that will promote compassionate, correct connection with the horse’s mouth, I use one of my favorite Teaching Tools—the Elbow Magic Band. I love this tool so much that I use it on every rider I work with.
IEA Seniors!! Have you made a college commitment? If so, we want to know! For the second year in a row, IEA is going to have a "Senior Corner" at IEA National Finals in order to highlight the amazing achievements of our riders as they take their next step out of high school.

Email with your college or post-high school plans, and be sure to include your favorite IEA photo and if you're going to ride with one of our fantastic collegiate Member Partners!
IEA Hits All-Time Membership Record!

Join us in Columbus, OH for EQUINE AFFAIRE on April 7-10.

IEA will have an informational booth in the vendor hall and an IEA Judges Clinic on Sunday, April 10th.

Lots of shopping, food, educational clinics, and horsey fun for all ages!
IEA Western is Heading Back to Texas in 2023!
Read Press Release:
Look who we spied in the latest issue of YOUNG RIDER MAGAZINE...

Thank you to Young Rider for this great article in the Winter 2021 issue featuring an inside look at a typical IEA practice at Mark's farm in Berthoud, Colorado (Western Zone 1, Region 8.)

Congratulations, Rocky Mountain Wranglers for being featured in this national magazine!

Young Rider is the only magazine of its kind specifically for and about horse-crazy tweens and teens ages 8-15. For over 20 years, it has delivered a fun-filled mixture of English and Western riding instruction, horse care tips, contests, beautiful color posters and stories about real kids. Young Rider continues to encourage and inspire kids to pursue their passion for better riding and horsemanship. Subscribe at
#MotivationalMonday with @tonyajohnston @inside_your_ride

Here is a reminder to focus on what is in your control in 2022. These are the things that make you strong and help you succeed! So many great ways to spend your energy, and this isn’t even all of it... Promise yourself that you won’t waste your effort or energy on things that are out of your control (such as what other people think about you, winning, the mistake you made yesterday, etc.). Instead, keep your focus on the factors that help you be your best!!
IEA would like to remind event hosts, participants, officials, and spectators that all IEA competitions must operate in accordance with state and/or local requirements relating to the COVID-19 virus and variants. In the absence of state and/or local requirements, IEA will follow the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF’s) lead in recommending compliance with CDC guidelines. If they so choose, event hosts may impose more restrictive requirements to help mitigate the risk of spreading the virus.  COVID-19 requirements should be listed in the prize list if possible or communicated to coaches of attending teams at least 48 hours prior to the start of competition. COVID-19 requirements should also be prominently posted on the show grounds.

All persons attending an IEA competition must comply with COVID-19 requirements in place for that competition as well as state and/or local requirements. Failure to do so may result in expulsion from the show grounds and/or punitive action assigned by a Zone Ethics Committee. These requirements are effective immediately and subject to revisions as the COVID-19 environment changes. Thank you.
Check out these awesome 20th Anniversary prizes available from IEA national logo vendor, Michelle's Equestrian Solutions.
Interscholastic Equestrian Association
Membership Office
607 North Avenue, Door 18,2nd Floor
Wakefield, MA 01880

Hours: Monday - Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm (Eastern)
Phone: 877-RIDE-IEA | 877-743-3432
Fax: 508-597-7373
Official Western Saddle of the IEA
Official Show Clothing of the IEA
Official Helmet of the IEA
Official Tack and Equipment Supplier of the IEA
The IEA was established to provide competitive and educational opportunities through equestrian athletics. Good Horsemanship and honorable participation are priorities at every event. It is the responsibility of all attendees to foster a spirit of belongingness, an atmosphere of community enjoyment, and a mutual respect for all participants and their equine partners.