Columbus, OH – April 12, 2017 - Nearly 400 of the nation's leading middle school and high school equestrians will converge at the Virginia Horse Center, Lexington, Virginia, on Friday, April 21 through Sunday, April 23 to compete for top honors in Hunt Seat classes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals. The student riders, in grades 6 through 12, will travel from across the United States to participate in the competition.

Of the 1404 high school and middle school teams from nine zones across the country, 180 will be represented at this year's event. Riders and teams competed at over 434 horse shows during the 2016-17 school year. The teams and individuals that accumulated the highest number of points within IEA Regions competed at Regional Competitions; those winners went on to compete at Zone Finals and then those champions qualified for the National Finals. The riders who qualified for Nationals bested more than 13,500 youth-equestrians.

Riders will compete in Hunt Seat Equitation Classes, over fences and on the flat, throughout the weekend. The format requires that riders compete in unfamiliar tack on unfamiliar mounts; therefore, they draw their horses the day of competition and enter the arena after a brief, if any, warm up.


Friday, April 21

  • 6:00 AM Schooling of horses
  • 7:30 AM Varsity Open Draw and Course Walk
  • 8:30 AM–5:00 PM (approximate) Competition

Saturday, April 22

  • 6:30 AM Schooling of horses
  • 8:00 AM Varsity Open Draw and Course Walk
  • 8:30 AM–2:00 PM (approximate) Competition
  • 2:00 PM Varsity Open Championship Class followed by Award of IEA Leading Hunt Seat Rider
  • 3:00 PM Parade of Teams (All IEA teams, coaches and riders scheduled to appear in arena.)
  • 3:20 PM IEA Lifetime Achievement Award (Adult)
  • 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (approximate) Competition

Sunday, April 23

  • 6:00 AM Schooling of horses
  • 7:30 AM Holy Innocents Horsemanship Test Finals
  • 8:00 AM Open and Immediate
  • 9:00 AM–12:00 PM (approximate) Hunt Seat Team Semi-Finals
  • 12:00 PM–3:00 PM (approximate) Hunt Seat Team Finals Competition
  • 3:00 PM Awards Ceremony

The IEA Hunt Seat Finals competition and supporting events are sponsored by the following:

Platinum Level Sponsor: USHJA

Gold Level Sponsor: Dover Saddlery

Major support is provided by: USEF, USPC, Bethany College, Bits & Pieces Tack Shop, Bridgewater College, Bridleplates, Cazenovia College, Certified Horsemanship Association, Equi in Style, Judy goldthwait – Equine Art & Pet Portraits, Mango Bay Designs, Otterbein University, RJ Classics, SCAD, St. Andrews University, Sweet Briar College, and Tredstep Ireland.

Additional sponsors include: Alfred University, Chatham Hall, EQSportsNet, Equisure, Ferrum College, High Point University, Hollins University, HRA/Foxtail, Keywood Meadows Farm, Lake Erie College, Longwood University, Lynchburg College, Madeira, Mary Baldwin University, Memory's Hill Stables, Meredith Manor, Mount Holyoke College, Randolph College, RTS@Stillmeadows, Shore Thing Equestrian, The Madeira School, Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Woodpecker Farm.

Complete live streaming of the 2017 IEA Hunt Seat National Finals will be available online and offered at no cost to viewers at www.EqSports.Net with links available at "Because only a fraction of the IEA's 13,500 riders qualify for the National Finals, it is important to provide real-time and archive viewing to the other riders, families, friends and supporters," said Myron Leff, IEA Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. "We are pleased that EQSportsNet will again provide the technical capabilities so our diverse audience can enjoy the Finals competition."