Thursday, January 4, 2024 – (Columbus, Ohio) - Now well into the 22nd season, the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) has once again set new membership records for the 20th time in the organization’s history.
The membership milestone success of the past three seasons following the 2020 pandemic finds IEA attracting new members who are flooding into the sport. The addition of the adult pilot program introduced during the 2022-2023 season has also grown to over 230 active adult amateur riders across the three disciplines in its second pilot year. To date, IEA has now topped 14,920 active members this season.
“It has been rewarding to see steady growth in membership again this year which means our programs are delivering the benefits riders and parents are seeking,” says IEA Director of Marketing & Communications, Kimber Whanger. “Youth rider numbers have steadily increased at a 3-4% growth rate and this season we welcomed 96 new teams– including another team from Canada.”
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.
“We have stayed true to our core of introducing as many young riders as we can to equestrian sport at a more affordable cost than traditional horse ownership and showing,” says Roxane Durant, IEA Co-Founder and Executive Director. “The success is a testament to delivering this type of competition to a previously underserved marketplace demand. IEA has also benefitted from the hundreds of organizational partnerships developed over the decades that have supported that same mission.”
IEA offers inclusive, equitable and affordable riding opportunities for student athletes in grades 4-12 and adult amateurs 21 and older using a draw-based competition format whereby riders do not need to own their own horse or tack. IEA show hosts provide horses for every level of competition from Beginner walk-trot through Varsity Open. Youth riders compete on teams and as individuals, accruing points throughout the season to qualify for regional, zone and national competitions.
IEA will host a combined Hunt Seat and Dressage National Finals on April 25-28, 2024 at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina. IEA Western National Finals will be held on June 23-25, 2024 at the Will Rogers Show Complex in Fort Worth, Texas in conjunction with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) World Show.
IEA Membership is open year-round for riders, coaches, teams and show officials with most regular season shows happening between August and January.
Registration for the 2024-2025 season will officially open in June 2024. The best time to join is between June and August so that riders and teams are ready to show beginning August 1st.
For more information, visit www.rideiea.org.