A Guide to Your First IHSA Show

A Guide to Your First IHSA Show

by Amy Pierce
By: Stacy Bromley Cheetham, MPA Congratulations on surviving your orientation and the first few weeks of college. By now, you’ve probably figured out how to get from the dining hall to your dorm and back without getting lost. So now it is time to tackle the question, what is the Intercollegiate and how is it different from all the other horse shows? Well, for starters, the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association or IHSA is the governing body that presides over the sport. Horse Tack Co. is a proud sponsor the IHSA and offers all students 15% off their orders, all the time, by using the promo code “LoveTheRide.”


IHSA horse shows are hosted by teams (schools) within the zone. There also is regional and national finals to qualify for, similar to the way some national equestrian organizations structure their competitions. However, there are many more differences than similarities. First of all, each team hosting the show also provides the horses to all competitors. The riders then draw a name out of a hat for each class and that is the name of the horse they will ride. No rider is allowed to warm up or practice at all before the class. You’ve heard the saying, “the luck of the draw,” well in the IHSA this is very much truth. For a very difficult, uncooperative or dangerous horse, a rider may be given a re-ride at the judge’s discretion. The levels range from walk-trot up to open division and are based upon the rider’s level of experience prior to arriving at school. A rider who has competed in 3’6” classes would be an open rider, as an example. Some schools also offer multiple disciplines and may have a Western, Hunt Seat, Dressage and even Reining team. Now, onto the really fun stuff like what to wear to your first show. The expectations for the hunt seat shows are going to mirror what you would see at a hunter/jumper show, if you were already familiar with showing. If you are already a seasoned competitor, you may have everything you need already in your closet. However, if you are new to showing or just want to check out some great new clothes, I’ve got a great list for you of high-quality items that won’t break the bank.


Riding Shirt





Head Gear

  • Make sure that you have plenty of hairnets and a conservative helmet that fits properly. There are many choices out there these days.
While the choices as well as the cost may seem overwhelming, the good news is that Horse Tack Co. wants to ensure that you have the best IHSA season possible by offering riders a 15% discount by simply entering the promo code “LoveTheRide.” As mentioned earlier, Horse Tack Co is a proud sponsor of the IHSA and is committed to supporting the future of equestrian sport. Good luck, happy riding, and remember to love the ride!

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