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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Dec. 10, 2018 – The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) is celebrating their 40-year anniversary of the Western disciplines. Recently, the organization’s leadership announced the locations for the for their Western Semi-Finals, sponsored by the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), scheduled for March 16-17. The Semi-Finals are the decisive step for Western riders and teams to qualify for the IHSA National Championship Horse Show, May 2-5 in Syracuse, New York. IHSA riders compete in a range of levels in Western horsemanship and in the open level in both horsemanship and reining.

“The NRHA sees the value in supporting equestrians throughout their college years and sponsoring the IHSA Western Semi-Finals is just one way we are able to do that," said Hayle Eberle, manager of marketing and outreach alliances at the NRHA. "Our hope is that they continue to learn valuable life lessons while being able to stay involved with horses. Additionally, the exposure IHSA gives their members to reining is really like no other. We wish everyone competing to qualify for Semi-Finals good luck!”




Florida State University (FSU) in Zone 5, Region 5, will host one Semi-Final at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida. Lynn Palm and Allen Mitchels will officiate as the judges.

In the 2017-2018 season, the FSU Western team sent Ellen Waidner to Nationals at the Pennsylvania Farm Center in Harrisburg, where she was national champion in Alumni Western Horsemanship and placed fourth in Alumni Reining. Click here to learn more about the FSU team.


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Florida State University's Ellen Waidener, 2018 Alumni Western Horsemanship champion poses with Cailin Caldwell, Megan Taylor, FSU Western coach Jean Anthony and IHSA Founder and Executive Director Bob Cacchione. Photo by


The University of Findlay, Zone 6, Region 1, will host a second Semi-Final at their facility in Findlay, Ohio. Carolyn Johnson Russell and Pete McAllister will judge the event.

The University of Findlay IHSA Western team are the 2018 IHSA Western National Champions. The Findlay Oilers also won national championship titles in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 and won the Reserve Champion title in 2008, 2014 and 2015. Learn more about the Findlay Western team here.


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The 2018 IHSA Western National Champions, the University of Findlay team. Photo by

Utah State University (USU) in IHSA’s Zone 8, Region 1, will hold the third Western Semi-Finals event at their facility at the USU Equine Center outside of Logan in Wellsville, Utah. Lori Gordon and Dawn Kreakie have been named the judges for the competition. The USU Western team are 6-time regional champions. The new USU Equine Education Center covers 26 acres and features a 150’ x 300’ indoor arena facility is surrounded by a bridle path that will allow users to enjoy one of the most beautiful locations in Utah. Learn about their team here.

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The six-time regional champion Utah State University IHSA Western Team.
Photo Courtesy of Utah State Equestrian Team.

Eight regions will be represented at each Semi-Final. The top-two individual Western riders from each region’s championship show and the high-point team from each region will compete at the Semi-Finals.

From each of the three Semi-Finals, the top four riders in each individual division, plus the top three teams overall will advance to the IHSA National Championship show to be held at the New York State Fair Coliseum in Syracuse.

Click here for the regional team distribution and more information about the Western Semi-Finals events.

Learn more about the NRHA.