IEA Introduces Ranch Riding Classes to Western Discipline Beginning in 2021-2022 Season

IEA Western Rider, Abby Whitlock (Arizona Reining Equestrian Team). Photo by Osteen/Schatzberg.

June 2, 2021 (Columbus, Ohio) – The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) Board of Directors has recently approved the addition of a new Ranch Riding Class for the Upper School and Middle School Western Novice Divisions beginning with the 2021-2022 IEA Season. Currently, IEA offers five divisions of Western Horsemanship Classes (Beginner Walk/Jog, Beginner Walk/Jog/Lope, Novice, Intermediate and Open) and three divisions of Reining (Future Intermediate, Varsity Intermediate, and Varsity Open). 

The new Novice Ranch Riding pattern class will replace the previously optional Novice Reining Prep classes as a standard class offering at every Western IEA horse show. Designed to be a preparatory introduction (or stepping-stone) to traditional reining classes, the Ranch Riding class will be an individual pattern class for Novice level riders – giving them the option of two classes at each regular and post-season show and will follow American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA) and/or American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Ranch Riding standards for maneuvers and dress code. 

Ranch Riding has seen a surge of growth over the last decade across the country,” says IEA Western Zone Administrator Tammy Braham. “It makes perfect sense for IEA to introduce this popular class as it not only tests the rider’s ability to complete pattern work on an unfamiliar mount, but it also makes sense for the pool of available horses we have access to across the country. The IEA Western Committee has worked diligently over the past few years to discuss options for new classes, update rules specific to the Western discipline, discuss feedback from members and find ways to improve and increase opportunities for our ridersWith the recent addition of Ranch Riding classes in the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA), this gives our riders even more exposure to pursue collegiate riding following high school.”   

Other recent changes to IEA Western during the 2020-2021 season have included the addition of Horsemanship patterns within the Novice, Intermediate and Open Horsemanship classes as well as the addition of Upper and Middle School Walk/Jog classes and qualifying opportunities for National Finals for 4th and 5th grade riders. IEA also increased regular season competitions from five to six for Western members. 

There have been a lot of exciting new things happening within our Western discipline”, explains IEA Co-Founder and Executive Director, Roxane Durant. “Not only do we have this new Novice Ranch Riding class starting next season, but we are getting ready to host our IEA Western National Finals in a few weeks for the first time at the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) World Show in Fort Worth, Texas. We have appreciated both our new and long-standing partnerships with APHA and the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), both of which provide outstanding opportunities to our members and support to our organization. We are very excited to be able to begin offering this new Novice Ranch Riding class during our 20th Anniversary.

IEA will host a combined National Finals with all three disciplines (Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage) on April 28-May 1, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as part of the IEA’s 20th Anniversary Season. Membership for the 2021-2022 Season will open in June 2021 for new and returning riders, coaches and teams with competitions beginning August 1, 2021. 

For more information, visit www.rideiea.org.

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