IEA Facts and How To Get Started

Fast Facts

  • No rider needs to own a horse.
  • Classes are offered in four ability levels: beginner, novice, intermediate, open. Any combination of ability levels on a team is permissible, but it is advantageous to have at least one rider in every class to be competitive as a team.
  • Riders in grades 4-8 are eligible for Middle School Teams while riders in grade 9-12 compete at the High School level.
  • The Adult Pilot Program offers riding opportunities for Amateur Adults 21 and older to participate on a team and compete in Adult classes in a similar format to the youth classes.
  • Points are tracked for individual rider accomplishments AND for overall, team accomplishments. Individuals and teams earn points to qualify for regional, zone and national finals.
  • Teams take turns hosting horse shows throughout the season. New teams are NOT required to host any shows. Second year teams are required to co-host at least one show. Teams in their Third year or additional years must host one show or co-host two shows per year.
  • The competition season starts August 1st and ends at the National Finals in late spring / early summer.
  • Students ride horses that are furnished by the host barn and chosen by random draw. The use of personal tack is not allowed and limited schooling is permitted. This equalizes competition variables and tests the horsemanship of the contestants.

Getting Started

Many things must come together to get a new IEA team off the ground. Assembling a group of riders who are interested in the program is the first step. You must have three (3) riders in an age group to start a team. (3 middle school riders or 3 upper school riders). Once you’re ready to get going, you must have the following:

  1. Host Barn: Every team should have a facility to practice and access to enough horses to support team lessons and showing. While IEA teams do not need to be affiliated with a school, many enjoy the support of being on a school-recognized team.
  2. Coach: An IEA Coach must be 21 years old and have proof of liability insurance ($500,000), or must purchase the appropriate IEA liability insurance through Equisure ($150/year covers participation in IEA events and practices).
  3. Membership Applications: Once you have the riders, coach and facility, you must submit a membership application online to the IEA using the IEA’s new database program – AccessIEA.

Membership applications may be submitted at any time during the season, however, most coaches submit their team membership between July and September.  Shows begin August 1st so the earlier you register your team, the more shows are available.


Coaches and barns with IEA Teams enjoy the following benefits:

  • Increased teaching and coaching revenues from additional lessons, team practices and show-day coaching fees.
  • An introduction to showing for students without horses, lower level riders and those without the financial means to show at larger shows.
  • An incentive to bring new riders into your facility! As your IEA team becomes successful and your riders share their experiences with others, you have an additional service to offer new clients that other barns in your area may not be able to offer.

As a coach I feel incredibly lucky to work with an organization that offers young equestrians so many opportunities! Our riders have developed such a strong sense of sportsmanship and horsemanship because of the ideologies and practices of the IEA.