Columbus, OH – April 17, 2017 – In its increasing support and affiliation with the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) will present an award to the IEA Leading Rider and an automatic-qualification (bye) to participate in the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Final.

For the first time, the IEA Hunt Seat Champion Rider will receive an invitation to the NCEA Medal Final of their choice from three available regions (West, Midwest, East). To compete in the NCEA Medal Final, the rider will have to have an NCEA Medal Membership and have completed two NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Classes. In this initial year of the affiliation, the rider can complete these two classes by the end of the qualifying period (August 2017). The rider must be able to provide their own mount to compete in the NCEA Medal classes and finals.

"When we began discussing this partnership more than a year ago, this is exactly what I envisioned would come out of our collaboration" says IEA Executive Director Roxane Durant. "This is such a wonderful opportunity for our riders who are preparing to compete at the collegiate level."

Leah Fiorentino, NCEA Executive Director and IEA Board member will present the award in Lexington, Virginia during the IEA Hunt Seat Finals. The Finals will be held April 21-23, 2017. "We have found that even in the short time of our affiliation with the IEA, that this the beginning of great things for our riders," says Fiorentino. "It is interesting to note, that every NCEA team had at least one IEA alumni as a member in this recently completed season. The IEA program is just terrific and we look forward to more IEA riders joining us at the NCEA level."

On a related topic, the recently crowned 2017 NCEA National Championship Texas A&M Equestrian Team saw their rider Rebekah Chenelle (sophomore) named as the Most Outstanding Performance (MOP) in Equitation on the Flat as well as being named to both Equitation on the Flat and Equitation over Fences All-Championship Teams. Prior to attending college, Chenelle rode very successfully in the IEA and was the 2012 Leading Hunt Seat rider as well as the Masters Medal Champion; from IEA Champion to NCEA Champion!