Horse shows. They are confusing to most people that haven't been to one and even to those that have still are confused. Now, to get even more confusing there are horse shows for high school and middle school students through the organization, Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). During the fall and winter I dedicate some weekends for these horse shows and once a week to lessons. Sounds like a huge commitment but when your one of those "crazy horse people" it's more like having fun and relaxing than a commitment.
So the question your probably asking is, what is IEA? Well, to make it short and simple it's a program set up for high school and middle school students to go to different horse show locations, English style or Western style, and ride that facilities horses. So, no you are not bringing your own horse. You ride a completely different horse that you know nothing about and try to place well enough to accumulate 15 points in order to make it to regionals or zones. From then you have to place well enough to make it to nationals. Yes, that is the shortest way I can explain it, sorry.
This was my second year doing the English style for IEA and I had high expectations for myself. Starting this month, I had 11 points in my one class, on the flat, and seven points in my jumping class. So, I needed four points in the one class and eight more in the other in order to qualify for my regional horse show. I was a little nervous because I only had two shows left and I needed to get good places. The first horse show, which was five hours away, I got a fourth place on the flat and a third place in my jumping. That fourth place was enough to get me the 15 points I needed for on the flat but the third only gave me 11 points in my jumping. So, thankfully I was able to already say I made it on the flat to regionals but I really needed to get a third or better at the last show. The day finally came and I heard that there was going to be a lot in my jumping class. Then, I found out what horse I had and got even more nervous because I had already seen a girl fall off him. At that point, my hopes were pretty down but I went in the class and give it my all. After about 45 minutes, I finally heard the announcer say that they were ready to pin the class. My heart was beating so fast! "And the placings are..first.....and second goes to Elizabeth McAndrew!!! I couldn't believe it! I placed second out of all those people and qualified for regionals! It was definitely a moment I will never forget because this was my first and last year to qualify.
I wasn't able to place at regionals but I'm still proud to say that I made it there and did my best. I was even awarded a High Point Placing at the regional banquet for accumulating the most points. Even though at first I felt like I couldn't do it, I never gave up and I always tried my best. No matter what the odds are don't give up and good things will come of it!
PA State 4-H Council Vice President of Operations and Events