Awards Presented on Final Day of 2023 IHSA National Championship Horse Show

NRHA Presents Western Semi-Finalists with Champion Buckles

The IHSA welcomed the National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) Senior Director of Corporate Relations, Christy Landwehr, to the arena for a special presentation. The NRHA is a longtime sponsor of the IHSA and title sponsor of IHSA Western Semi-Finals, the qualifying events for all IHSA Western riders competing at IHSA Nationals.

At IHSA Western Semi-Finals, representatives of the NRHA were unable to attend the three events. At the National Championship Horse Show, they took the opportunity to present the awards for the Individual class champions. Each to received beautiful champion buckles presented by NRHA’s Senior Director of Corporate Relations, Christy Landwehr.

The IHSA congratulates the IHSA Western Semi-Finals champions and thanks NRHA for their generous partnership.

IHSA - Nationals 2023 - NRHA Champion Buckles for Semi Finals Riders - Credit EQ Media-1 copy
NRHA's Senior Director of Corporate Relations, Christy Landwehr and Bob Cacchione with the Western Semi-Finals Individual winners. Photo by EQ Media

Sarah Eberspacher - University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Kaylee Tingle - Midway University
Belle Sand - University of Minnesota-Crookston

Open Horsemanship
Ashton Knerr  - University of Findlay
Jordan Martin - Middle Tennessee State University
Lori Girrbach - Adrian College

Ranch Riding
Alans Hill - University of Findlay
Jordan Schauer - Midway University
Virginia Barnett - Liberty University

Level II Horsemanship    
Hayley Mertz - University of Findlay    
Autumn Lance - Berry College    
Annelise Bedell - Saginaw Valley State University

Level I Horsemanship
Kaitlyn Howe - University of Findlay    
Laykyn Wilson - Midway University    
Jessica McCall - University of Florida

Rookie Horsemanship    
Aysia Casares - Rocky Mountain College    
Ashley Polson - West Texas A&M University    
Luke Rogers - St. Andrews University

Beginner Horsemanship
Anna Lowers - University of Findlay    
Hannah Price - Middle Tennessee State University    
Emily Brooks - Albion College

Western Sportsmanship - Coach: Ariel Higgins, Middle Tennessee State University
Ariel Higgins is the coach of the MTSU, who won the Western Team National Championship. Higgins served as secretary of the Horse Selection Committee. She also helped with class naming and on the IHSA Sponsorship Committee.

IHSA - Nationals 2023 - Western Sportsmanship Award - Coach - Credit EQ Media

Western Sportsmanship - Rider: Emma Owens, Morehead State University
Emma Owens, a senior from Morehead State University, received the IHSA National Championship Horse Show Western Rider Sportsmanship Award. This was Owens' first year showing western. She took on numerous roles through the show such as staging the arena and organizing registration information her final role was as the re-ride request volunteer where she acted as a liaison between the coaches and the stewards. The only break she took from volunteering at the horse show was to have a brilliant ride in individual rookie horsemanship.

IHSA - Nationals 2023 - Western Sportsmanship Award - Rider - Credit EQ Media

Western Sportsmanship - Volunteer: Isabel Atkins, Albion College
Isabel Atkins from Albion College volunteered to help with the IHSA silent auction and went above and beyond to help in any way.

IHSA - Nationals 2023 - Western Sportsmanship Award - Volunteer - Credit EQ Media