Gladys Va – Oct 29, 2021 – Athletes from the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) demonstrated their equitation skills among the best in North America at the National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky, in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship. For the third consecutive year, the leadership of the National Horse Show Association of America (NHSAA) invited qualified IHSA members to participate in the feature class held Oct. 28.

The popularity of the class neccesitated the split to an 18-24 division and a 25 and up division. The IHSA contributed members and several alumni riders to the THIS National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship. Course designer Bobby Murphy designed the tracks that tested the abilities of the horse-and-rider combinations. The championship included three phases: the first jumping round, the top 24 riders returned for the flat phase and a second round over fences. After the second round, the judges had the option to test further, but this year opted not to.

The demanding course tested adjustability and fluidity throughout. Of the 45 starters, only 24 would advance to the flat phase during which riders were tested through the walk, trot, sitting trot and canter to determine their second-round order-of-go.

Dawson Amick, a member of the St Andrews University team, had a top-10 finish in the THIS National Horse Show Adult Equitation Championship with Hakim Ourai,
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

With all 24 riders set to return in reverse order of judges’ preference, Murphy’s second-round track upped the ante. Eleven fences made up the tie-breaking course that featured a series of bending lines set for riders to shorten and extend their horses' steps in order to meet the fences in perfect stride. The winding pattern led to a number of errors for riders in the second round, causing a shake-up in the standings.

In the end, two IHSA riders scored in the top-12, Dawson Amick, aboard Hakim Ourai, owned by Singh Family Farms LLC and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) alumna Autumn Janesky and her own Romana Black. Amick is from Waxhaw, North Carolina and attends St. Andrews University where she's studying Equine Business.

Amick is experienced in the arena and has competed at Devon, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show in the pony and junior hunter divisions. She has earned multiple Zone 3 Horse of the Year awards and was fourth in the North American League (NAL) Adult Equitation Championship in 2019. Amick has also won multiple tri-colors and classics wins in the Adult Hunters and Jumpers at Tryon, the Winter Equestrian Festival, World Equestrian Center and Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

"I love that the horses come first," Amick said about competing in the IHSA. "There is no warmup. We have to figure out how to make the horse we are on compete at its best while the class is being judged." Amick will graduate in 2024.

Autumn Janesky, from Savannah, Georga, is a 2021 SCAD graduate. She earned a top- 12 placing with Romana Black. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Lily French, from Aurora,Ohio, is a senior at Miami University Ohio. She rode Coriano VDV, owned by Miami University Ohio. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Lily Oelshlager, a student at American University from Copely, Ohio, aboard her own Conello. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Meghan McIver, from Hendersonville Colorado, is an alumna of Colorado School of Mines where she competed on the IHSA team. She rode Trapani owned by Myrna Folsom. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Elizabeth Nevins is from Sammish, Washington, and is the captain of the Boston University IHSA team. She rode Dark'N Stormy, owned by Eleanor Cox. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Michael Dowling, IHSA board member and co-coach of the Centenary University equestrian team, coordinates the participation of the IHSA hunter seat membership in special classes.

“Many thanks to Jennifer Burger, Bill Weeks, Geoff Teall, Cindy Bozan, Michael Taylor from Taylor Harris and the entire National Horse Show team for giving this opportunity to the IHSA riders,” Dowling said. “To have the chance to compete at this level in the setting of such a historic event is amazing. With thanks to all the IHSA coaches who encouraged their riders to participate. We are proud to make this an annual event!”