IHSA NRHA Cup finalist Leah DiGioia (SUNY Cobleskill). Courtesy of D. DiGioia.
Fairfield, CT (July 4, 2014) On June 28, judges Joe Hayes and Donnie Bricker decided 12 of the best and brightest new stars on the reining horizon as the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby, which opened June 20 in Oklahoma City, closed with a memorable display of Intercollegiate Horse Show Association talent in the 2014 NRHA Collegiate Cup as two 2014 IHSA National Horse Show champions tied at the top of the leader boards. Four riders each – representing IHSA, NRHA and NCAA – competed.
2014 IHSA/NRHA Open Reining Reserve National Champion, Ashley Winters (University of Findlay) and 2014 IHSA/AQHA Reserve High Point Western Rider, Austin Griffith (recently graduated from Ohio State University) tied for the 2014 Collegiate Cup reserve title and were the highest-placed IHSA entries in the class.
Winters rode Marlene Scott’s Custom Made Pistol, earning 73.5 from Hayes and 71.5 from Bricker for a 145 final. Griffith, on Torpey Performance Horses’ Brooksinics Sis, earned 72.5 from both judges. Joining the tie was Lauren Tieche on Sneakin a Peek; all were within five-tenths of a point of Collegiate Cup winners Mckenzie Lantz and Non Stop Nimble (145.5).
IHSA rider Leah Digiogia (SUNY Cobleskill), who was ninth in the 2014 IHSA/NRHA Open Reining final standings, clinched ninth in the Collegiate Cup with a 139.5 on Sambambyr Farm’s Hollywood Cielo. Tenth-place went to 2014 IHSA/NRHA Open Reining Champion Julia Roberts, newly-graduated from West Texas A&M University and riding Todd Knerr’s Lil Gun Flash to a 139 score.
During the NRHA Derby, the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals for Western riders, in conjunction with IHSA, presented Jessica Brobst of the Stonehaven Equestrian Team from Temperance, MI, with the IEA National Sportsmanship Award. Micah King of Autumn Rose Equestrian Team from Plain City, OH, was awarded the NRHA Sportsmanship Award for exceptional work during the 2014 IEA Western National Finals.
Western class results from the 2014 IHSA National Horse Show, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, also determined a tentative list of invitees for the AQHA Collegiate Challenge this November 19-20 in Oklahoma City. Joining Roberts and Griffith on that list are Kaitlin LeBlanc (Univ. of Findlay), Ariel Herrin (Middle Tennessee State Univ.), Emily Dean (Purdue Univ.), Michelle Hustad, (St. Andrews Univ.), Samantha Kirby (SUNY-Oswego) and Allison Board (Univ. of Kentucky).
The 2015 IHSA National Horse Show is April 30-May 3 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. Find full results and learn more about teams and scholarships at www.ihsainc.com.