July 8, 2020 (Columbus, Ohio) – The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) 2020-2021 Western National Finals will be held during the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) World Championship Show in Fort Worth, Texas. The APHA Show will take place June 25-July 11, 2021. IEA Western Finals will take place over two days during this time period, however exact dates are yet to be determined.
Billy Smith, APHA Executive Director thought it a good idea to have the youth riders of the IEA to show their talents along with the APHA youth equestrians in separate, but complimentary, competitions during one of the world’s largest youth equestrian events.
“The future of equestrian sport is dependent on attracting young people to participate. We show the variety of competition disciplines during our World Championship Show, but there is nothing better than kids watching other kids having fun to show our Sport. We look forward to welcoming the IEA to Fort Worth next year,” said Smith. APHA is a Member Partner of the IEA.
IEA Western riders in grades 4-12 will compete in Western Horsemanship and Reining competitions across the Country between August 2020 and May 2021. The 11-19-year-olds will compete locally to qualify for Regionals. Approximately 160 top placers will then move on to the Western Finals.
The IEA uses a draw-based format for competition, whereby riders randomly select the horse(s) they will compete on just minutes before entering the show arena (with no warm-up). Horses are generously provided by local professional barns, IEA teams, and university programs. More than $8,000 in scholarship awards will be presented at this National Finals to qualifying seniors.
For many years the IEA Western National Finals were held during the NRHA Derby Week in Oklahoma City. Gary Carpenter, NRHA Commissioner and former IEA Board member, endorsed the move to move to the APHA Show. Carpenter said, “While we enjoyed hosting the IEA Western Finals for many years and will miss them at the Derby, combining Youth-riders from multiple organizations is a fun way to demonstrate the vitality of our sport.” Carpenter also confirmed the NRHA will remain the major sponsor of the IEA Western Finals. NRHA is a Member Partner of the IEA.
Roxane Durant, IEA Co-founder/Executive Director stated, “We are so pleased that two of our major Western Member Partners collaborated and developed such an exciting opportunity for our IEA Western riders. This is a great example of support for the mission of the IEA—introducing youth to equestrian competition and the fun had by the riders.”