Relive college and ride in the IHSA Alumni Tournament of Champions

Photo via Facebook

Who hasn’t wanted to relive the glory days of college? For college equestrians, that often included piling into vans or buses and traveling to horse shows several hours away, drawing a horse for your class, carefully watching it being ridden by whoever drew it before you and trying to figure out how you would ride it better when your class came along. There was no warm-up before you rode into the arena. All you had was whatever skills you brought with you to quickly figure out and effectively ride new mounts.

All those horses made all of us who were lucky enough to be part of a collegiate equestrian team better riders. One day you’d be on a 15-hand quarter horse who was maybe a bit lazy, the next you’d be up on a 17-hand Warmblood whose giant strides ate up the ground between fences, and the next time you’d be on a hot, quick Thoroughbred who wanted to buck and play between the fences. 

The IHSA was a big part of many college equestrians’ lives. For some it was an introduction to horse shows while for others it was a continuation of their youth years in the show arena. IHSA truly had a class and a division for everyone who wanted to ride. On June 14, you can relive those equestrian team days at the Alumni Tournament of Champions at St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Maryland (a little over 4-hour drive from Roanoke). But if you want to ride in the tournament you have to act fast. Entries close on June 1 and some divisions are already close to filling up.

The tournament, meant to offer an alternative to the IHSA Nationals, is open to all past and present IHSA alumni riders and includes both Hunt Seat and Western divisions. You can register online here. You do not have to be an active alumni rider. A reunion division has been created for former IHSA riders who have not been actively showing as an alumni throughout the season.

If you’re like me and your IHSA glory days were a few more years ago than you like to think about, don’t forget to pack some Icy Hot in with your breeches and hunt coat.

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