April 17, 2019 – Columbus, Ohio – The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) hosted two Western Semi-Finals Competitions – one in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on April 6-7 and the other in Columbus, Ohio on April 13-14. These large competitions were made up of approximately 285 youth Western riders in grades 6-12 who qualified based on their regular and post-season results. The IEA Western Semi-Finals is the last step before heading to IEA Western National Finals in June in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma during the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby. The top 6 riders in individual classes and the top 6 teams from each Semi-Finals will be moving on to the Finals.
Semi-Finals A – Tennessee
Middle State Tennessee University (MTSU) played host to Semi-Finals A in their beautiful Miller Coliseum. Riders and teams from IEA Regions 4, 5(2), 7 and 8 gathered to vie for national qualification in both Reining and Horsemanship Classes. Seizing the Upper School Team Championship out of 12 teams was Autumn Rose Equestrian Team out of Marysville, Ohio and coached by Debbie Griffith. Dare Equestrian Team out of Hilliard, Ohio coached by Linda Dare took the Reserve Champion Team spot for Upper School. The Middle School Team Championship was won by IIIR Stars Equestrian Team out of Hopkins, South Carolina and coached by Joy McMillion. Autumn Rose Equestrian Team also took home the Middle School Reserve Championship. The Champion Upper School rider was Ellexxah Maxwell (Autumn Rose Equestrian Team). The Champion Middle School rider was Cadence Eger (Autumn Rose Equestrian Team). The Reserve Champion Upper School rider was Addison Taylor (Flamekissed Equestrian Team). The Reserve Champion Middle School rider was Jenna Woody (Flamekissed Equestrian Team). The Sportsmanship Award went to Ginia McFarland (Team Untamed) and the horse of the show was Mickey provided by Schwarz Reining Horses, Johnstown, Ohio .
Semi-Finals B – Ohio
Equine Affaire, one of the largest horse expos in the nation, was the backdrop for IEA Semi-Finals B which hosted IEA riders and teams from Regions 1, 2, 5(1), and 11 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds and Expo Center. Similar to the Semi-Finals A, riders competed in exciting Reining and Horsemanship classes to determine the winners moving on to National Finals. Coming out on top for the Middle School Team Championships was KM Equestrian out of Findlay, Ohio coached by Katie Morehead with Saddlebrook Equestrian Team coached by Ashley Wolf out of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania taking the Reserve Championship spot. In a tie-breaker for Upper School Team Championship, KM Equestrian ultimately won the Upper School Champion spot with Grier School out of Tyrone, Pennsylvania and coached by Chris McElyea taking the Reserve. The Champion Upper School rider was Olivia Willeke (KM Equestrian). The Champion Middle School Rider was Abby Zawisza (KM Equestrian). The Reserve Champion Upper School rider was Macey Stevens (Watkins Equestrian Team). The Reserve Champion Middle School rider was Katherine Riley (TMC Equestrian Team). The Sportsmanship Award went to Laura Larman (North Country Horses) and the horse of the show was Gremlin provided by TMC Equestrian.
In addition to riding classes, IEA members also had the opportunity to take a written Horsemanship Quiz at each Semi-Finals to test their skills outside of the saddle. Nearly 60 riders participated and awards were given to the top six placings in both Middle School and Upper School at each Semi-Finals.
IEA Western Semi-Finals was proudly supported by the following major sponsors: National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), Bob’s Custom Saddles, Equine Affaire, Cinch Jeans, Kimes Ranch, Matt Mills Reining Horses, Rod’s Western Palace and C4 Belts.
Show officials included Judges Allen Mitchel (NRHA, AQHA, NSBA) from Michigan City, Indiana and Kim Myers (AQHA, NRHA, NSBA) out of Felon, Pennsylvania at Semi-Finals A. Debbie Kail (AQHA, NSBA) from Scottsdale, Arizona and Carla Wennberg (AQHA, NRHA, NSBA) from Laurinburg, North Carolina judged Semi-Finals B. Serving for both events was Todd Knerr as Show Manger, Cindy Yu as Show Secretary, and Jenna Kingery and Jay Lanzer as Show Stewards. Horses were coordinated by Ashley Wilson and Foreverworks Photography served as Show Photographer.