Amy Daspit. Photo by Drake Walls
Gladys, Va. – Jan. 25, 2024 – The leadership of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) announced the election of Amy Daspit to the position of associate national steward by the board of directors. She will take over the role from Ollie Griffith, the former coach of the Ohio State Team and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and Pioneer Award, who has been in the role since it was established. Griffith will mentor Daspit through the transition into the role.
In her role as the associate national steward, Daspit will support IHSA National Steward Sherri West in overseeing IHSA competition. She will play a pivotal role in addressing rule infractions, resolving disputes and ensuring the fair play that the IHSA is known for. Daspit's appointment brings an additional set of experienced eyes to the field, reinforcing the organization's commitment to excellence.
"I'm so happy to be able to continue with an organization that I truly believe in," Daspit said. "I am going to give it my 100% to be there for students and coaches alike, to be approachable, and help them through any situations they might find themselves in and answer any questions they might have."
With an impressive equestrian career spanning over 36 years, Daspit's extensive experience and unwavering dedication make her an invaluable addition to the IHSA leadership team.
Daspit's love for horses and riding began at 8, shortly after her family moved to Trappe, Maryland. Her neighbors introduced her to riding lessons, marking the start of a lifelong passion. From that moment, Daspit's equestrian journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Throughout her career, Daspit explored various equestrian disciplines, from hunter/jumper local competition to the prestigious Washington International. She ventured into fox hunting, field hunter classes, and even tried her hand at eventing, Western riding and roping. Daspit's passion was for hunter seat equitation. She participated in USET classes and competed on the Virginia Intermont IHSA Team in college.
Daspit's coaching journey began in 2010 when she founded the equestrian team at Salisbury University. Starting with just five students, she nurtured the team to unprecedented heights, reaching a peak of 32 students. Her dedication brought the team to the brink of winning their region, a remarkable achievement for a newly established team. Daspit's coaching career extended to Wor-Wic Community College and Villanova University, showcasing her commitment to developing young riders. She and her family recently moved to Ocala, Florida.
As a coach, Daspit valued the IHSA's inclusive approach, where riders of all levels are equally important. "I love the fact that the walk-trot riders or intro riders are just as important as the open riders," Daspit said. "It doesn't matter what level you ride. Everyone's performance counts."
Daspit served as regional president of the IHSA board of directors from 2019-2023, volunteering on the education, bylaws, hunt seat, and National Championship committees. Her resume includes a series of leadership roles within the broader equestrian community. She served as president of the Maryland Saddle Association, vice president of the Wicomico Equestrian Center, vice president of the Combined Eastern Shore Horse Shows Association and held board positions in various organizations. Her commitment to good sportsmanship and problem-solving demonstrates her dedication to the sport's growth and merit.
"The IHSA congratulates Amy on her election as associate national steward and looks forward to her valuable contributions to the organization's mission of promoting equestrian competition, sportsmanship, education and horsemanship," said IHSA President Peter Cashman.