Menu Achievement of Excellence Awards Presented to Claudia Freeman (RIT), Haley Ruffner (Alfred U) at 2017 IHSA National Championships Achievement of Excellence Awards Presented to Claudia Freeman (RIT), Haley Ruffner (Alfred U) at 2017 IHSA National Championships


(Fairfield, CT) May 12, 2017 – In partnership with their shared commitment to excellence in equitation and horsemanship,, founded and directed by Bernie Traurig, and the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championships, the culminating finale of college equestrian sport founded in 1967 by now-executive director, Bob Cacchione, presented two Achievement of Excellence Awards to undergraduate riders during the show, May 4-7, at the Kentucky Horse Park.


An Achievement of Excellence Award went to hunt seat rider Claudia Freeman (Rochester Institute of Technology), who clinched an individual national championship on the first morning of competition in Open Equitation Over Fences. Freeman gets a six-day apprenticeship and $500 stipend with 2005 COTH Show Hunter Horseman of the Year, Stacia Klein Madden, of Beacon Hill Stables.


Western horsemanship and reining rider, Haley Ruffner, (Alfred University) earned an Achievement of Excellence Award that will include a six-day apprenticeship and $500 stipend with 2000 NRHA Hall of Fame inductee and 2010 World Equestrian Games Reining Team Gold medalist, Tim McQuay. Ruffner was also named 2017 AQHA Trophy reserve champion high point rider.


This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those striving for excellence beyond college was presented to one rider each from the Open hunt seat and Open reining classes. Recipients were chosen subjectively by hunt seat judges Linda Adrisani and Steve Wall and western judges Donna Kail and Mike Carter, based on style, ‘effective riding,’ and potential to excel in equestrian sport.  In addition to apprenticeships and stipends, each rider receives an embroidered saddlepad, hat, backpack and Lifetime Membership to EquestrianCoach, and their coaches receive Annual Memberships to EquestrianCoach. is the world’s leading online video training site for equestrians.  As part of the Achievement of Excellence Awards, membership to EquestrianCoach opens the door for IHSA riders and coaches to a wealth of knowledge provided by some of the best riders, coaches and industry professionals the world has to offer. EquestrianCoach has produced a library with 100’s of instructional videos while amassing fresh topics monthly. Its core instruction follows the principles of the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System and benefits any jumping discipline at any level. EquestrianCoach also delivers the best from dressage, eventing, and reining Olympians and World Champions, as well as leading veterinarians, farriers, judges, course designers, sports psychologists and accomplished equestrians with decades of expertise to share.


EquestrianCoach is founded and directed by Bernie Traurig, renowned not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Truarig represented the USET at home and abroad and reached the pinnacle of horse sport in three Olympic disciplines: show jumping, dressage, and three-day eventing. In 2009, he was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame; in 2010 the California Professional Horsemen's Association honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2012 was awarded the USHJA President’s Distinguished Service Award. A legend in our sport, as a teacher and trainer he is among today’s most sought-after clinicians and was West Coast associate chef d’ equip to George Morris (former USET Olympic chef d’ equip). Having amassed decades’ of training and riding techniques with 1,000s of horses, he now gives back through partnerships like IHSA, to the sport that has given him fulfillment and success