Celebrating its 16th competition season, the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), has again set a record for membership. This season (2017-2018), membership is nearly 14,000. While the highest concentration of members is East of the Mississippi; the Western states are experiencing a greater percentage of growth. A new membership category-Junior Contributing Member-also attracted many new IEA participants.
In 2002, the IEA started with 175 riders on 13 teams and has become the largest youth equestrian organization in the country, and the largest feeder organization to collegiate equestrian programs.
“Our goal was never to become the largest ‘anything,’ said Roxane Durant, IEA co-founder and executive director. “We have, however, stayed true to our core of introducing as many youngsters as we can to equestrian sport. We also wanted our student-riders to be recognized as the athletes they are—just as other family members and friends are who participate in various scholastic sports. The success is a testament to delivering equestrian sport to a previously underserved marketplace demand.”
The IEA Board, management and staff credit the thousands of volunteers who assist the organization, coaches and riders in making the organization successful. “It is a wonderful sense of Community among those associated with the IEA,” stated Durant.
In an effort to also better educate youngsters with interest in equestrian sport, the Junior Contributing Horsemanship Program was introduced in 2017. Originally designed for youngsters in grades 4-5, the program has found interest in non-riders and riders in higher grades, as well.
IEA membership rates are very affordable. Fees are $60 per individual rider for the season. Junior Contributing members are $35 per year. Rider enrollment is open from July 1-November 1. Junior Contributing membership enrollment is open at all times.
Importantly, there is no need for any rider to own a horse to participate in the IEA. However, the teams and barns are expected to provide horses and equipment for the competitions.
Now in its 16th year, the IEA has nearly 14,000 members across the United States riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. The IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels.
For more information, please visit www.rideiea.org