Meet IHSA National Championships Guest Blogger: Arden Foster!
The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championships kicked off today in Springfield, Massachusetts and will run through Sunday, May 3. The highlight of the year for IHSA teams and riders, Pleasurehorse.com is is very lucky to have our own guest blogger, Arden Foster, of Berry College reporting from the Eastern States Exposition where the all the action is going down. The Berry College Vikings have multiple riders competing in English and Western events, and Arden will be there traveling with the team to capture all the behind-the-scenes excitement from a first-hand perspective.
She was also the recent recipient of the inaugural USHJA/IHSA Sportsmanship Award for Region 2. Congratulations and welcome Arden!
Read on and be sure to check back for more blog posts throughout the IHSA National Championship weekend!
Saturday, 5/2- Lance the Lobster and his adventure at IHSA Nationals
So it’s been an exciting Nationals so far! I have had the opportunity to watch my best friend compete in the Cacchione Cup and finish 15th in a competitive field of 38. I also have been watching some of the best women that I get to call my friends and teammates compete in their western classes. They have definitely brought their A game: we have a Champion and Reserve Champion already! I’ve wanted to give you some insight into what my days are like here at Nationals, and then Lance the Lobster came along! So, without further ado, Lance will be giving you a look into my day.
Started at 8:45AM, we are headed to the show with Coach Margaret Knight
Then, we had a very nutritious bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, obviously with coffee to make it through the day.
The Cacchione Cup workoff was really competitive, Lance really learned a lot!
Our western girls began to get ready, so Lance watched as they put on their makeup and did their hair in those tight, clean buns!
We told Lance about the big prizes that our western riders won yesterday, so of course he had to check those out.
GORGEOUS spurs!!! Then he found the trophy….
Silly Lance. That pony isn’t for riding! Then, they started to warm up the reining horses. Those horses are SO cool!!!
That was really awesome, but then it was time to head to the trade show. SmartPak had a photobooth!!! My friend Autumn and I entertained Lance with a picture.
Then we found the draw table, where Lance reminisced about the days he was just a wee draw-lobster.
We saw the Collegiate saddles there, who is a huge sponsor of IHSA, so Lance obviously had to try a saddle out.
As we got back to Berry’s box, look who Lance got to meet!!! Bob Cacchione himself.
Then they began to school the horsemanship horses, and that was really interesting to watch. They go so slow!!
Then it was time to watch some reining! Lance was very eager to help with the videography of Berry’s rider, Elizabeth.
Then our Beginner rider, Ashlyn, went in for her ride! Lance did try and make it into the National arena.
He watched so many riders’ patterns, he was in awe of all the sparkly shirts and beautiful horses. Then, the riding! Just spectacular.
Lance went to the mounting area, and met Sam, a University of Findlay horse, who was really cute and sweet!!
Sam and his holder were so nice, they even let Sam sit and see what it’s like to ride a horse!
After a long day of watching horses and exploring Nationals, it was time to head back to the hotel and get dinner.
While we waited on our food, we had to watch the Kentucky Derby. There is so much to the horse world!!
Of course, then we had a hearty post-show dinner.
Then, it was time to write about the long day at the show. This means more coffee!!!
Lance and I worked hard writing the blog, making sure we didn’t miss anything!
Then it was time for bed!! Thank you to all of IHSA for hosting such a spectacular event!! So many people are involved in making all of the moving parts work, and it truly is a blessing to have all of the support from the equine community to host a program like this.
Thursday, 4/30- Riding IHSA
“Ride what you drew, not what you wanted to draw.” It’s a life lesson that the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association brings to the table in a fun and competitive atmosphere, and is applicable to so much more than entering the arena.
Riders from all over the country compete in this association with the hopes to come to Nationals. They make a plan in the course walk or after running through their patterns, then head to the draw after watching a variety of horses warming up. The horses that are lazy push rides, and others that seem to test your patience and will. They have a ride that they prefer, and hope they pull something like that in their draw. But the judge doesn’t know that, doesn’t care. They just want to see effectiveness, function, and it all to look organized and finessed.
You can impress people by your ability to adapt and show what you are capable of achieving. How can you help your horse perform at its best? How can this horse highlight your strengths to the benefit of your ride, your experience? Learning to work together with a strange horse, and work together amiably speaks volumes to your ability to ride. Anyone can learn to pose, sit, and look in the right direction. IHSA encourages their riders to be more.
It’s not just about looking the part – it’s about riding the part; it’s about riding the horse.
When you don’t ride what you’re given, and wish you were on a different horse, all the judge sees is an uncomfortable experience, and consistent miscommunication – none of which is impressive. Yes, appearances and first impressions are important – they can be what separate the good from the best. But you won’t even be considered if you can’t show the judge you deserve to be there.
The concept of this goes beyond the arena. It’s what makes this format a great learning experience for any rider. You may not always be dealt the ride or the situation that you foresaw, that you wished for. But you find the positive parts to accentuate, and the way to make it the best for those who are involved. You never give up, and show the world who you are, and that you can handle anything. You learn to take constructive criticism, and grow to be better. It’s this idea that is shaping the future of the equestrian world.