2014-15 IHSA Season Features Youngest and Oldest Undergrad Riders
Fairfield, CT (October 10, 2014) Equestrian sport has long recognized the horse as a great equalizer and, even at its highest Olympic levels, riders are judged not by gender or age but by mastery of their discipline. The 2014-15 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association competitive calendar promises an equally diverse spectrum of talent, as Mary Baldwin College and Middle Tennessee State University teams host among the youngest (age 14) and oldest (age 45) full time undergraduate riders in recent memory.
IHSA executive director and founder Bob Cacchione, who was presenting at the IHSA Zone 4 Region 2 show hosted at Randolph College, posits that, at only 14 years of age, Walk-Trot division rider Madison Hobbs for the IHSA hunter seat team at Mary Baldwin College, may be the youngest full time undergraduate rider that IHSA has ever seen. As anyone familiar with Cacchione’s tireless commitment to collegiate riding knows (IHSA celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017), if he can’t remember a younger example, there probably isn’t one.
Stephanie K. Ferguson, Ph.D., executive director, Early College and director, Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, for Mary Baldwin College confirms that the teenager is a full time student in its Advanced Program. IHSA equestrian team coach, Donal Oldaker, adds that she is also “a very enthusiastic rider” and was part of the team competing at Randolph College.
If IHSA’s youngest rider this season is Mary Baldwin College’s Madison Hobbs, then its most ‘mature’ full time undergrad might just be Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Advanced Western rider, Lori Grimes, born in 1969.
Lori was an ‘IHSA team mom’ while her daughter, Alyssa, rode for MTSU with IHSA coach Anne Brzezicki. When Alyssa graduated in May, Mom decided it was time to complete her own degree (she’s majoring in Communication with a minor in Agric/Horse Science).
Lori says: “I’m blessed to ride with Anne. I started showing in the 1980s on the pinto circuit, and was High Point Rider for the original International Pinto Registry. Horses see no age differences in riders. My goal is to ride AQHA Select. I hope I can ride Open by the time I graduate. Meanwhile, I’m gonna give these kids a run for their money!”
From 14 to 45, riders will be seeking to qualify for the 2015 IHSA National Horse Show, April 30-May 4, in West Springfield, MA. IHSA promotes competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional and national levels, based on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. Learn more at www.ihsainc.com.