IHSA has certainly changed my life. I grew up as a backyard barn kind of kid doing maybe a schooling show here and there, and probably two rated shows all of my junior career. I can distinctly remember that first club meeting of the Equestrian Team at Lehigh University. We all went around and shared our skill levels, most people inflating, and then talked about how we managed lessons and shows. I connected quickly with another team hopeful named Rachel. She and I were very excited about joining the team and showing IHSA.
Fast forward a month and the team captains called and handed over the team to us. We were overwhelmed to say the least, but had a ton of fun with it over our four years. Since leaving college, both Rachel and I have showed Alumni as well as USEF rated shows. I was an IHSA Alumni representative for nearly 10 amazing, fulfilling years and have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Z3R4 alumni group at a baby shower for one of our alumni. Photo courtesy Lena Licata
Rachel introduced me to my current barn and turned this backyard rider into an A-circuit amateur (along with my trainers and other supporters). The IHSA has meant a lot to me and together with my co-chair, Jamie Windle, we formed the Alumni Tournament of Champions to celebrate IHSA riding after college. Not everyone can dedicate the full IHSA season as an active alumnus and not all active alumni make it into the postseason.
We created an annual event to celebrate anyone that has ever showed in
the IHSA. We consider our show to be a finals-like atmosphere with great
ribbons, prizes and most importantly a way to connect with other IHSA
Jamie and Lena with the Alumni Tournament of Champions 2019 ManeJane Alumni Cup winner. Photo courtesy Lena Licata