Nation’s top interscholastic youth equestrians head to Georgia for Hunt Seat National Finals

More than 300 riders, in grades 4 through 12, will compete for three days in April
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Over 400 of the nation’s leading middle school and high school equestrians will converge at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agriculture Center, on Thursday, April 22 through Sunday, April 25 to compete for top honors in Hunt Seat classes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals. The student riders, in grades 4 through 12, will travel from across the United States to participate in the competition.

Logo for interscholastic equestrian association; illustration of an english and western rider wearing graduation caps and gowns

The IEA has nearly 14,000 members across the United States competing in hunt seat, Western and dressage. 

Of the 1,209 high school and middle school Hunt Seat teams from eleven zones across the country, over 400 riders will be represented at this year’s event. Even during this COVID-19 challenging year, riders and teams competed at over 800 Hunt Seat horse shows during the 2020-2021 school year. The teams and individuals that accumulated the highest number of points within IEA Regions competed at Regional competitions; those winners went on to compete at Zone Finals; and then those champions qualified for the National Finals – besting more than 9,600 Hunt Seat riders this season.

IEA utilizes a draw-based form of competition, similar to collegiate riding programs, whereby riders are furnished with an unfamiliar horse and tack on the day of competition. Riders will compete in Hunt Seat Equitation classes over fences and on the flat after a brief, if any, warm up. This “blind-draw” format levels the playing field and challenges riders to adapt quickly to their horse.

Judging this year’s Finals competition will be United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) “R” rated judges Mary Knowlton from Freehold, New Jersey and Rita Timpanaro from Smithtown, New York.

Complete live streaming of the IEA Hunt Seat National Finals will be available online and offered at no cost to viewers through the IEA website: www.rideiea.org and on the USEF Network at www.usef.org. “Because only a fraction of the IEA’s riders qualify for the National Finals, it is important to provide real-time and archived viewing to the other riders, families, friends and supporters,” said Myron Leff, IEA Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer. “We are pleased that equestrian videographers, Shownet, LLC will once again provide the video so our diverse audience can enjoy the Finals competition.”

For a complete listing of information and schedule for the 2021 IEA Hunt Seat National Finals, visit: https://www.rideiea.org/hunt-seat/finals/

About the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA):
Now finishing its 19th year, the IEA has nearly 14,000 members across the United States riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. The non-profit (501(c)3) 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.

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