Dear IEA Coaches, Riders, Parents and Contributing Members:
As IEA Board members recently approved the addition of 4th and 5th graders to the mounted offerings for the coming season, members are "a-buzz" about the details! A rulebook addendum to address the program is in the works and will be distributed, along with the updated 2019-2020 rulebook later this month. In the meantime, here are a few key highlights!
IEA's 4th & 5th Grade Pilot Program / "Intro" Riders
4th and 5th Graders will be introduced in a Pilot Program for the 2019-2020 season as "Intro" Riders, adding to the existing Future and Upper School Programs previously offered. The program will give experienced teams the opportunity to introduce younger riders to the draw-based competition format. Emphasis will be on developing the skill set that is unique to the format and providing the opportunity for participation in an entry level of equine athletics. Additional offerings and expansions for the "Intro" riders will be mapped out as the program expands over the next few years.
- Intro level riders may join as additional members of an already-established Futures (Middle School) Team. (Team must already have at least 3 riders in grades 6-8.)
- They will have a reduced membership fee in the first pilot year, and there will be no "team" fee.
- There will be classes offered in all three IEA Disciplines: Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage
- There will be two ability levels offered in the first pilot year: Walk-Trot and Walk-Trot-Canter (Walk-Jog and Walk-Jog-Lope)
- Riders will compete at regular season shows only, and cumulative points will NOT be tracked for individuals or teams.
- Only the teams that have Intro riders will have a hosting obligation for that age group.
- As in all mounted offerings of IEA, Riders must have at least one year of professional instruction and must be able to canter competently on an unfamiliar mount. Riders with experience competing in local and rates shows are encouraged to participate also.
- All Intro riders in all disciplines will wear approved safety helmets whenever mounted.
"It is very exciting to be adding this younger age group to our offerings", says IEA Executive Director and Co-Founder, Roxane Durant. "Getting kids into horses at an earlier age is inherently a good thing! We will start with a participatory, no-pressure offering to get these riders involved, and we will evolve the program over the next few years with continuing feedback from our members."