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Collegiate Horse Shows

The IHSA was developed to allow student riders of any skill level or economic background to compete in a collegiate horse show at their own level of experience. A first-time team member will complete an IHSA Placement form to determine the division in which they are eligible to compete. Divisions range from walk-trot to open in four disciplines---hunter seat equitation, hunter seat equitation over fences, western horsemanship and reining. College horse shows are like "meets", with all teams from the region invited to compete against each other simultaneously. Each region will offer anywhere from 5-10 regular season horse shows per year. All IHSA shows are judged by USEF Hunter Seat Equitation approved judges or AQHA judges for western horsemanship and reining.

Horses and Tack
In each region, all attending colleges ride horses provided from the host school, although some schools may provide additional mounts when needed. The host school provides the tack and equipment for each horse. Each competitor draws for their mount before their entered class. Since no schooling is allowed, the host college provides a “horse description list” to give the rider helpful hints about the horse’s way of going. The rider simply mounts, adjust stirrups, and rides before the judge!

Individual Scoring
Each ribbon is worth a point value to the winner. When a rider scores enough points to qualify for the regional championships, he or she moves to the next higher level for the remainder of the year, returning to compete at the lower level at Regionals. Top riders at Regionals advance to the Zone or Western Semi Final Championships, and top riders at Zones and Semis advance to the IHSA National Championships at each year end.

· First place ribbon is worth seven points
· Second place is five points
· Third is four
· Fourth is three
· Fifth is two
· Sixth is one.

It takes thirty six points to qualify for Regionals and move up to the next higher class level. The points accumulated carry over from one year to the next. So, a team can be started in the middle of the year and competitors will still receive some benefit from a partial year of competition.

Team Scoring
At each show during the year, coaches select one rider from each division to compete on behalf of their college. Those scores are totaled to select a Champion Team each show. The scores are cumulative throughout the year, and the high point team at the end of the last show is named the Regional Champion Team. Regional Champions advance to the Zone or Western Semi Final Championships and the top teams from Zones and Semis advance to Nationals. National team competition follows the same format, with one rider from each division representing each team against the other Zone and Semi Final Champion teams. National team competition is held in separate classes from the individual competition at the National Championships, and is referenced by the trophy names -- Collegiate Cup (hunter), and AQHA Trophy (western).